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WHATEVER IT TAKES

SYNOPSIS:
Ryan (Shane West) is a senior at the all-American Gilmore High. Ryan’s best friend and next-door neighbour is the smart and sensitive Maggie (Maria Sokoloff, from TVs The Practice). The two share secrets via their respective balconies, but they’ve always been plutonic pals. Ryan pines for Ashley (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe), Gilmore High’s resident pretentious beauty queen. With no hope of snagging Ashley as a prom date, Ryan makes a pact with Gilmore’s dopey stud, Chris (James Franco), who sees a break from the average blonde in Maggie. Chris will convince Ashley that Ryan’s the coolest cat in school and Ryan will coach Chris in winning Maggie’s heart. Being hormonally charged teens, the guys go to extraordinary lengths to win their respective dates. But messing with fate is a messy business, and sometimes the answer is right under your nose.

"In the production notes to Whatever It Takes, writer and co-producer Mark Schwahn states; 'The challenge was to make this story unique, fresh and textured.' He failed that challenge. Whatever It Takes is hardly unique, as high school romance movies have been regurgitated ad-nauseum ever since Pretty in Pink in 1984. It’s hardly fresh, as it remoulds the familiar Cyrano De Bergerac story into a kind of 90210 setting, where everyone is white, rich, and unfairly good looking. And it’s certainly not textured, as it’s loaded with one-dimensional characters (prom queen, dumb jock, bumbling friends), standardised dialogue, and the most predictable outcome. I smell a rat with this one. I find it, again, lying in the production notes. Phoenix Pictures’ producer Paul Schiff and Vice President of Development Matt Berenson collaborated with Schwahn to create a marketable screenplay. Producers’ writing a high school romance movie…? Hhhmmmm, it reminds me of the production meeting in Robert Altman’s The Player, where a cynical Tim Robbins remarks: 'What an interesting concept it is to eliminate the writer from the artistic process – if we could just get rid of these actors and directors, maybe we got something here…'. That appears to be the case here. The result is so uninspiring, unoriginal, and unfunny that one wonders how far this is from Porky’s. There’s even the puerile sneaking into the female showers scene (minus the nudity), and the climactic, disastrous prom. The only interesting facet here is watching the magnet Marla Sokoloff who, unlike her co-stars, is destined for greater things. Whatever It Takes may appeal to certain mid-teens, but if they love Dawson’s Creek, they needn’t bother with this."
Shannon J. Harvey

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

See Brad Green's SOUNDTRACK REVIEW

WHATEVER IT TAKES (M)
(US)

CAST: Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Shane West, Marla Sokoloff, Manu Intiraymi, Aaron Paul, Julia Sweeney

DIRECTOR: David Hubbard

PRODUCER: Paul Schiff

SCRIPT: Mark Schwahn

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Tim Suhrstedt

EDITOR: Ronald Roose

MUSIC: Ed Shearmur

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Edward T. McAvoy

RUNNING TIME: 94 min

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 13, 2000







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