RED does not mean "stop." GREEN does not mean "go." Click on the CAPCon Alert image for explanation
CAP Movie Ministry
Reel World Reality

A ministry of the ChildCare Action Project:
Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP Ministry)
A 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Christian Ministry.
Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to His little ones through you in His name by His Word


(2011), PG-13 [R-13*] (78.75min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
December 20, 2011
December 22, 2011

The #1 Christian entertainment media analysis service on the Internet. We give you OBJECTIVE tools NO ONE ELSE CAN to help YOU make an informed decision for yourself whether a film is fit for your family. Over 1300 analyses for parents, grandparents, pastors, youth leaders and more.
Available from

PLEASE . . . . . . .

(a PayPal account is NOT required).
The CAP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit Christian ministry.
Donations are TAX-DEDUCTIBLE.

Stay informed ...OBJECTIVELY...
on what Hollywood feeds your kids. SUBSCRIBE
(or unsubscribe) to our FREE email version of these reports and our COMING SOON notices.
Email this report to friends and
tell them about the CAP Ministry:

Christian Long Distance

(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2011), PG-13 [R-13*] -- earned investigation area scores of zero in...

Production (US): Fox Searchlight Pictures, Gigi Films, Goldcrest Films, Mint Pictures/Atlantic Pictures, Island Bound Productions
Distribution (US): Fox
Director(s): Gavin Wiesen
Producer(s): David Sweeney, Andrew Levitas, Henry Pncus, Patrick Baker, Nick Quested, Gretchen McGowan, Jonathan Gray, Anthony Gudas, Gia Walsh, Kara Baker, P. Jennifer Dana
Written by: Gavin Wiesen
Cinematography/Camera: Ben Kutchins
Music: Alec Puro
Film Editing: Mollie Goldstein
Casting: Laura Rosenthal, Maribeth Fox, Jodi Angstreich
Production Design: Kelly McGehee
Viewed on Fox Home Entertainment DVD

Since I will be referencing the six CAP content investigation areas throughout the next two paragraphs, it might be helpful to remind our readers of them up front:

W - Wanton Violence Crime
I - Impudence/Hate
S - Sexual Immorality
D - Drugs/Alcohol
O - Offense to God
M - Murder/Suicide

The scoring distribution earned by the content of The Art of Getting By (PG-13 [R-13]) over the six CAP content investigation areas is most atypical: (W)100 - (I)0 - (S)0 - (D)0 - (O)49 - (M)100. It is typical of PG-13 teen flicks to earn low scores in the Impudence/Hate (I), which includes profanity, in the Sexual Immorality (S) and in the Drugs/Alcohol (D) content investigation areas, but for all three of them to earn a score of zero out of 100 with no violence/crime and no murder/suicide is most unusual. This rather points the finger at the content Hollywood either thinks of the "teen" or thinks teens want in their entertainment diet - profanity, sex and alcohol.

Of the nearly 1500 films we have analyzed only one other film earned investigation area scores of zero in each of the I, S and D investigation areas. It was the PG-13 (500) Days of Summer. Its scoring distribution is (W)89 - (I)0 - (S)0 - (D)0 - (O)44 - (M)100. Looking at the content scoring in a different way - from MPAA rating equivalence perspective -- the equivalency distribution of The Art of Getting By is G - R - R - R - R - G. The equivalency distribution for (500)Days of Summer is also G - R - R - R - R - G. Grrrr.

I am just a data cruncher who loves Jesus and not a film critic so I cannot give you much of a meaningful summary commentary of this film. The best I can do about this forgetful film is to say that it is about an obnoxious, irresponsible, disrespectful, malcontent slacker high school senior George Zinavoy (Freddie Highmore) who never does his school work finding a girlfriend in Sally Howe (Emma Roberts). But facing expulsion from Morgan High School only weeks before graduation, Zinavoy finds the motivation to do all the work he had lied about doing all year.

If I understand the term "formula" as applied to filmmaking, The Art of Getting By is a formula work with the names and faces changed so the plot pieces and parts neatly fit into a pattern so much like patterns used by so many other "teen" films. Maybe "cookie-cutter" would be a better term. The story seems little more than a bunch of "it ain't good enough no matter what 'it' is" teenagers trying to play "adult" while fighting authority, responsibility and accountability.


Following are brief discussions of the content per individual content investigation area. As always the Findings section of this report, the heart of the CAP Analysis Model, is the best source for discovering the full accounting of the content of this film.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 100 out of 100
There is no violent or criminal content found in this film.

Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
I cannot remember a PG-13 film engineered for teens that did not spew profanity as if "teen = profanity..." This film is no different except in the number of uses of profanity typical of a teen film. While there are typically 20 to 40 uses of profanity in PG-13 flicks, this time there were only eight but the adult-teen ratio of profanity is once by an adult and seven times by teens. Once by an adult and seven times by teens? One to seven? That seems to fortify the "teen = profanity..." equation. I guess Hollywood filmmakers think all teens are potty mouthed. Maybe many teens are potty mouthed but the teens who are potty mouthed may be potty mouthed because of teen films like this one which portray teens almost always as potty mouthed. Gotta feed that foolishness bound the hearts of youth [Prov. 22:15] to get those cinematic dollars*, dontchaknow. [Rom. 5:19]
* A pre-show slide at a Loews theater displayed that more than half of all moviegoers were minors (under 17).

By the way, though the quintessential characters in this film were 18 years old, being "adult" does not excuse the sin of profanity.

Profanity is not the only term on the right side of the cinematic "teen = profanity..." equation. "Teen = profanity + impudence + disrespect + arrogance ..." also seems to describe Hollywood's impression of teens nowadays. Zinavoy's behavior is all those and more which will be revealed as we move through this report and build on the "teen = profanity..." equation in accordance with what Hollywood apparently thinks is "teen."

Sexual Immorality (S) - Zero out of 100
Now we can add "sexual immorality" to the "teen = profanity + impudence + disrespect + arrogance..." equation. There are enough "sanitized" examples of sexual immorality in this teen film to make the magnitude or total envelope of the sex content equivalent to the more extreme sex content of many R-rated films. See our CAP Rule of 1000 publication for more information on this loading technique.

"Sanitized?" That term means "cleaned up" or minimized, e.g., a sexually immoral act of practicing everything that leads up to intercourse (clothed foreplay, undressing, touching, etc.) but not the actual intercourse. For example, two characters in bed together making out in their underwear but no gender-specific parts seen. It is clear enough what the characters are portraying so "sanitizing" the display by not showing private parts does not absolve the display. [Eph. 5:12, 1 Ths. 4:1 -7, 1 John 2:16, 1 John 2:26] Implication and suggestion are sometimes more defining than direct display.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - Zero out of 100
According to what the writers of this film apparently think of "teen", there is yet another term that can be added to the "teen = profanity..." equation. The equation can now be amplified to "teen = profanity + impudence + disrespect + arrogance + sexual immorality + alcohol/drugs..." There is enough teen drinking and adults giving alcoholic beverages to teens for this film to be equivalent in magnitude to many R-rated films in alcohol/drugs. Note that in some instances in this film teens get booze in bars and restaurants. It is illegal in every one of the 50 United States for anyone under 21 years old to buy alcohol and for businesses to give alcohol free of charge.

By a 2002 study of the American College of Physicians, such exposure in and as entertainment can be dangerous. The study revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking in and as entertainment undeniably leads to abuse of alcohol among underage viewers. The finding entitled Relation Between Parental Restrictions on Movies and Adolescent Use of Tobacco and Alcohol reports that of 4544 youths from grades 5 through 8 of fifteen Vermont and New Hampshire middle schools (90% of the youths were under fourteen years old) only 16% were completely restricted in their entertainment diets. Within the ACP study population, the prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was

o 46% for those with no viewing restrictions
o 16% for those with partial viewing restrictions
o four percent for those with complete viewing restrictions. [Eph. 5:18]

There is nothing to say that viewing smoking in and as entertainment does not carry the same danger of influence as viewing drinking. Actually, the same matter of behavior influence applies to any behavior demonstrated in and as entertainment, including good behavior.

So, the "teen = profanity..." equation, by cinematic example, has grown to " teen = profanity + impudence + disrespect + arrogance + sexual immorality + alcohol/drugs..." There is more but I believe the point is made so enough is enough.

Offense to God (O) - 49 out of 100
Four times someone uses blasphemy by using God's name in vain. Though each time was without the four letter expletive, whether with or without the four letter expletive matters not to God. Any use of His name in vain is a sin. [Deut. 5:11] And I did not write the Rules. That I say it is a sin to use God's name in vain does not make it a sin. That God said it is a sin does. Even if I were to say blasphemy is not a sin would not make it free of sin to blaspheme. Whether we believe it or not. Whether we like it or not. Whether we care or not.

Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
No murders or suicides were found.



If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Prov. 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child;...
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, ... [This part of Romans 5:19 reveals that the one who sins will teach others to do likewise by example (which invokes Luke 17;2). All who use profanity sin whether it be the one who speaks profanity or the one who copies him/her, but this verse points the finger of accountability at the one who teaches others to sin by his/her example. "Man" in "by one man's" is anthropos: human being, whether male or female, to include all humans and can be used in the plural.]
  • Eph. 5:12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.
  • 1 Thess. 4:1 - 7 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound [excel] more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification [sexual purity], that ye should abstain from fornication [which includes promiscuity]: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel [control his/her body] in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence [desire for that which is forbidden, craving; promiscuity], even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond [trangress] and defraud [take advantage of] his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. ["Fornication" is porneia, meaning illicit sexual intercourse a) adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc., b) sexual intercourse with close relatives; c) sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman. In other words, sexual immorality which includes promiscuity. Be master of your body and urges, not a slave to them. Be not a seeker of any manner of sexually-oriented imagery or behavior outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage. For any sexual contact (including sight and sound), conduct or activity outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage is sinful.]
  • 1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. [Lust of the flesh and of the eyes include that which makes one lust, e.g., images and talk. The "world" here is kosmos {kos'-mos}: the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men and women alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ.]
  • 1 John 2:26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. ["These things I have written" includes lust of the flesh (which includes ears) and the lust of the eyes from 1 John 2:16. An example of "them that seduce you" includes they who demonstrate sexual sin or quest for it, however innocuous it may seem, in and as entertainment which can morally "seduce" the viewer, can lead one astray by desensitizing one, enticing him/her and emboldening him/her to believe sexually immoral deeds, thoughts and displays are acceptable OR by eroding one's natural inhibition against sexually immoral deeds and thoughts. And anything in and as entertainment that draws the viewer's attention to sexuality, sexual deeds, nudity and the private parts clothed or not, seen or not, is sexual.]
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. [Since "drunk" is methusko {meth-oos'-ko}: to intoxicate; make drunk; to get drunk; become intoxicated, "wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. The issue is do not abuse the body by intoxicating it [1 Cor. 6:19]. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk OR to drink in defiance such as underage drinking.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. [Vain is shav {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as in slang or profanity. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion and in praise and prayer is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title. So, trying to excuse such expressions with "I was talking TO God/Jesus when I said that" or It's just words" or "I was acting" will not work with Him. Nor will "Everybody says that" excuse the sin of using His name in vain. If everyone on the planet who has ever drawn a breath used His name in vain, it would still be a sin to do so. If no one ever did, it would still be a sin to do so. Whether we believe it or not. Whether we like it or not. Whether we care or not.]

    Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry

  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend what is vile, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it.]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    The Art of Getting By (2011) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 100 out of 100
  • none noted

    Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
  • 8 uses of profanity plus one use of the most foul of the foul words
  • teen insolence at fair authority, frequent
  • teen defiance of fair authority
  • teen lies, repeatedly
  • teen using fatalism to excuse failure to do school work
  • teen deception
  • teens cutting classes and rationalizing truancy to try to excuse guilt
  • morbid drawings
  • marital fight with teen son within earshot
  • emesis
  • physical assault of a teen by his caregiver

    Sexual Immorality (S) - Zero out of 100
  • drawing of nudity in high school classroom
  • inappropriate touch of teen by adult
  • adult talking sex to teen
  • adult male hitting on a teen girl, twice
  • gamming by teens
  • ten boy spending night with teen girl in her bedroom
  • erection under blanket
  • teen girl stripping to underwear wit teen boy in the room
  • adult talking to teen about getting sex
  • teen girl asking teen boy for sex
  • teen girl talking to teen boy about his sex life
  • background song of cohabitation
  • parent exhibiting sexual character to daughter and her boyfriend
  • sequence of exploring past sexually immoral behavior
  • painting of nudity in high school classroom
  • teen girl cohabitating with adult male
  • teen girl planning cohabitation with adult male as they tour Eurpoe

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - Zero out of 100
  • teen smoking
  • adults giving booze to teens, repeatedly
  • booze, repeatedly
  • smoking
  • teen drinking - multiple, repeatedly
  • restaurant serving booze to teens
  • bar
  • teen in bar
  • teen's with beer

    Offense to God (O) - 49 out of 100
  • Christmas without Jesus
  • divorce and frequent reference to divorce
  • abuse of God's name by adults and by teens but none with the four letter expletive

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
  • none noted

    Interested parties, send us your proposal. Your link will appear on each new analysis report prepared during the desired period and, once placed on a page, will not be removed.

    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

    The ChildCare Action Project (CAP) is a nonprofit Christian ministry. We are 100% dependent on public support. If you wish to contribute to the CAP, please make your donations through

    Just enter "Donation" in the "Description" block and the amount in the "Unit Price" block. You DO NOT need to have a PayPal account. Note that PayPal cannot process your donations unless your browser is set to accept cookies.

    Your gifts are tax deductible in accordance with Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Tax Codes.

    You are welcome to go to the
    CAP Reports page
    or go to the
    Top of the CAP Home Page
    or the
    CAP Site Map (Table of Contents)
    or leave me an email message or comment at

    Thank you for visiting us and may God bless you. Prayerfully, we will provide you with some of the most revealing commentary and investigative reporting you have ever read.

    In the name of Jesus:
    Lord, Master, Teacher, Savior, God.
    Tom Carder
    Chaplain and President
    ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture
    100% dependent on your tax-deductible financial support

    Copyright ChildCare Action Project (CAP) Ministry

    Since December 5, 2000

    Christian Long Distance
    The Fundamental Top 500

    We exist only by your tax-deductible donations. PLEASE

    Features PayPal! You do NOT need an account to donate.
    JCSM's Top 1000 Christian Sites - Free Traffic Sharing Service!

    * CAP Equivalence to MPAA Rating Scale:
    Please note our new manner of indicating a film's Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating in comparison with the CAP equivalence such as "PG-13 [R-13]." The first term is the Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) rating. The second term [in brackets] indicates that which the film earned under the CAP analysis model. In the example, "PG-13 [R-13]" indicates the MPAA rated the film PG-13 but the film earned a CAP final score in the scoring range earned by R-rated movies in the comparative baseline database. Other comparative terms used might be "PG [13-PG]", "G [PG-G] or even 'PG-13 [PG]" as was the case for Alien vs Predator. I doubt there will ever be a "G [R]" used, but only time will tell. The CAP analysis model is Rock-solid. The MPAA is not.

    The current CAP to MPAA** nomenclature is:

    For G rated Films with
    G equivalence: G
    PG equivalence: PG-G
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-G
    R equivalence: R-G<
    For PG rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-PG
    PG equivalence: PG
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-PG
    R equivalence: R-PG
    For PG-13 rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-13
    PG equivalence: PG(13)
    PG-13 equivalence: PG-13
    R equivalence: R-13
    For R rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-R
    PG equivalence: PG-R
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-R
    R equivalence: R
    For NR rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-NR
    PG equivalence: PG-NR
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-NR
    R equivalence: R-NR
    ** G, PG, PG-13 and R are registered trademarks of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

    Copyright ChildCare Action Project (CAP) Ministry
    A Nonprofit Christian Ministry