So many teenage romance comedies have come out in the last decade that it is almost impossible to count, yet they keep on rolling in. And usually, the successful movies are the ones that find some little aspect that previous movies have overlooked or not focused on. So does Whatever it Takes have what it takes? No, but it is still funny.
Whatever it Takes features a cast of unknowns which sort of makes the movie more fun since you know that all the actors are probably trying pretty hard to make a successful movie and at the same time having fun because they are so new at it. And they do seem to be having fun, because the chemistry really shows (and kudos to the two main characters, Shane West and Marla Sokoloff for doing a great job).
As teenage comedies go, Whatever it Takes is about as trite as it gets. There is the group of popular girls that dress in tight clothing and go to all the parties, and the group of losers that don't have a clue about the opposite sex. Of course, the popular group makes fun of the not-so-popular group, which I haven't found to be true in real life.
The movie really doesn't make sense either. Nerdy Ryan (West), who's only nerdy feature seems to be that he plays the accordion and hangs out with some weird people, gets the most popular girl to like him by being made to her. I don't think so. It is said in the movie that since everyone is nice to her she'll "appreciate the change of pace," but I think she'd just move on to the next guy who is being nice to her. The more believable romance is between Maggie, Ryan's friend who isn't popular just because the script says so, and Chris, the most popular guy in school. Even though he's a pitiful scumbag (in real life, there are a lot of popular people that aren't mean), I can see how Maggie falls for him. Still, the constant in-your-face suggestion that all popular people are assholes is sort of out of line.
So I've basically crashed this movie, right? The thing that saves Whatever it Takes is that it is just plain out funny. It's not that the lines or clever or anything - in fact, I'm surprised that this movie made it to the big screen since it probably would seem pretty boring on paper - but there are so many visual gags and stuff like that that it is hard not to laugh. The whole movie has little things (including some dialogue) that makes the whole film worthwhile.
The only part where Whatever it Takes really struggles is the ending, which is the most important part of the film. All the characters do some pretty dumb things and Whatever it Takes begins to look even more like two-hundred other movies of the same sort.
Still, all in all, Whatever it Takes has enough to keep it rolling, and it is an enjoyable film. It is far short of being flawless, but for a good sit back and enjoy yourself kind of movie, Whatever it Takes is where it's at.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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