A wise man once said that “life is full of misery, loneliness and suffering – and it’s all over much too soon.” The same thing can be said about high school and all of its wonderful experiences. Yes, I am being sarcastic. It’s the moment of truth in which we must shed our innocence and make our transition into society’s wondrous adulthood.

By now, I’m sure you’ve got the gist of what The Art of Getting By is about. George (Freddie Highmore, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Finding Neverland) is a witty, Holden Caulfield-ish, New York high school student who breaks out of his shell when he strikes up an unlikely friendship with popular girl Sally (Emma Roberts, Scre4m). You know what this means? Yes, it’s another “coming-of-age” movie, this time from rookie writer-director Gavin Wiesen.

The film starts off with George going through a teenager’s “midlife crisis.” Instead of worrying about graduating and getting into a decent college, he’s aware of his own mortality. He chooses the “We’re going to die anyway, so what’s the point of it all?” mantra, yet miraculously makes it to his senior year without doing his homework.

The intrigue to see his journey to self-discovery fades quickly, when the story becomes just about the complicated friendship between George and Sally. Now, friendship is not the correct word. In fact, it never is. Falling in love never looked so simple, as they wander the streets of New York, searching for their identity, while trying to figure out what they want, for themselves, and from each other – and ultimately, life.

“Find something that you’ve never had the courage to say before, find what you care about, what you believe,” is a line that resonated with me the rest of the night. It’s proof of the script’s potential only to see it go to waste on the rom-com. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hating on first love, but why must teen movies almost always be reduced to the love experience?

Even with some genuine moments, The Art of Getting By quickly becomes a forgettable movie. As great as it was to see George see some beauty in the world and have something matter in life because of Sally, it was unfulfilling to see that the “lesson” he learned was to say those three words.

But hey, maybe the answers to the “Who am I? What am I going to do with my life?” never surface without that one special person by our side, who’s going through the same discovery to push us through. Maybe the ups and downs and uncertainty of young love really is the transcendence into adulthood. Maybe we need that first love to show us something about ourselves that we never knew we had.

Grade: C-

The Art of Getting By releases in select theaters June 17.