Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Detroit Free Press:
How to Deal might be a serviceable drama for kids. For anyone with a driver's license, though, Moore's sophomore vehicle hits too many wrong notes.
How to Deal can't make up its mind what it is, which makes for a confusing experience.
Ebert & Roeper:
I've seen a lot of dumb teen romances in the last couple years, but How to Deal, is a welcome exception.
New York Times:
After a while the bad lighting, graceless editing, sluggish dialogue and self-conscious performances begin to seem like marks of authenticity, as if the movie had been made not just for and about teenagers, but by them.
Los Angeles Times:
Some moments ring true, others seem contrived, but the film is by and large sustained by strong central performances and by its depth.
How to Deal is a 'dramady' of a film, with first-time director Clare Kilner fighting valiantly to balance its heaviness with humor. Though it's no Terms of Endearment, she pulls it off.
In an age when most teenagers are up to their eyeballs in postmodern consumer glitz, [Moore's] movies seem radical not just in their retro squareness but in their unfashionable embrace of faith over ironic flippancy.
Globe and Mail:
There's a kind of timeless, weirdly chaste 'nowhereness' to the whole enterprise, its dilemmas and behaviours as applicable to 1973 as 2003.
[Kilner and Beber] neglect to give an idea of just how Halley does deal with a crisis before moving on to the next, be it tragic or comical.
A movie which you will find almost unbearable unless you are 1. already a huge Mandy Moore fan, 2. 12 years old and 3. clinically dead.
Promising to serve up life's complexity, Clare Kilner's movie doles it out in bite-sized, predigested portions.
It's too heavy on issues and too light on just observing the characters and enjoying their freshness.
Painless to watch, but it's marred by some significant flaws.
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
It's refreshing to see young people grappling with substantive matters for a change, but Clare Kilner piles on enough angst to fuel a month of soap opera.
Moore and Ford rise above the hackneyed story, infusing the proceedings with their own chemistry and appeal. If only the adults responsible for this film could learn how to deal.
A bland romance that suffers from choppy development, dramatic overload and dearth of personality.
Producers smooshed the plots of two Sarah Dessen teen novels into one flick.