For all his reliance on teen-movie formula, writer-director Gavin Wiesen is surprisingly adept at depicting messy emotions and capturing the spontaneity of adolescence. His first feature is most successful when it presents teenagers the way they like to see themselves: as honest, sensitive souls perceptive beyond their years. Freddie Highmore and Emma Roberts, former child stars exuding an agreeable and highly cultivated blandness, play New York City high schoolers who share an apathy toward classwork and a passion for fine art. In another pleasant surprise these two quickly bond despite having come from different social scenes, a reminder that teens can be more open-minded than adults realize. The movie is so filled with such optimistic gestures that one wishes it were more convincing; the dialogue is riddled with cliches and the leads are too confident to portray teenage insecurities credibly.
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