I wonder what Holden Caulfield was like as a grownup.
Having a period as an angst-ridden and fatalistic teen is part of what made the "Catcher in the Rye" protagonist resonate with people. But most of us grow out of that, right?
The lead character of "The Art of Getting By" is in the throes of his teenage angst, but where the movie works best is watching him grow out of it.
George (Freddie Highmore) is in his senior year at an Upper West Side prep school, but he's having a hard time focusing on the studies as he contemplates the fleeting nature of mortality and his own desire to be an artist.
Of course, nothing snaps a teenage boy out of his philosophical conundrums faster than equally rebellious pretty girl Sally (Emma Roberts).
Rookie writer-director Gavin Wiesen's "Getting By" won't be credited with breaking any new ground. It's a tale as old as teenage rebellion, and it's one that's been told better.
It's also probably going to lose some of the audience with its casual focus on children of privilege. I was particularly struck by the fact that the legal drinking age in Manhattan seems to be 17.
But there's a certain sweetness to the movie I found hard to resist. George's rebellion comes in the form of not doing his homework, not doing heroin. I find that more relatable.
Highmore, looking to outgrow roles like "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," is a nice change of pace, more contemplative than raging James Dean-style. Roberts is still looking for a breakout role, as here she's mostly reduced to object of affection.
It comes off a bit like a teen precursor to "Garden State" - a movie many found too fluffy, but which I unabashedly loved.
It thankfully avoids the teen sex comedy pitfalls, going for something a little more thoughtful. It's a little bland, but so is being a teenager.