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Whatever it Takes Whatever it Takes

Another teen comedy that borrows from last year's more engaging tales - She's All That and 10 Things I Hate About You, Whatever It Takes is a "Cyrano de Bergerac" make over in high school, of course, leading to the all-important prom.  Out of these three, Whatever it Takes goes to whatever length to get its mostly teen audience the opportunity at much of the puerile and outrageous offerings from director David Raynr, whose last foray, Trippin was equally as wispy, but probably less gratuitous in its resolution.

From the onset, it might appear that there could be something appealing from two best friends, Ryan Woodman and Maggie Carter (Shane West, Marla Sokoloff).  The comely, smart Maggie doesn't have a date for prom and prods her accordion-playing confidante into taking her.  It is ironic that they've been close throughout their lives and Ryan has mostly been within himself since his dad's death.

Cyrano for high school - Gilmore, is made in a recycled script format, through the campus jock ladies man, Chris (James Franco).  He's dying to go out with Maggie, and Chris has a huge crush on his cousin Ashley, a knockout seen strutting around school in slow-motion for the dreaming Ryan.  But, the cool, slow-witted Chris has a plan whereby Ryan will win the affection of Ashley from an e-mail and some prankish behavior that girls fall for and Ryan will help Chris get noticed by his next door neighbor with heart.

Raynr's film reaches its' romantic mode as call waiting between Ryan, Chris, and Maggie has the musician using some deft touches to strike a chord in Maggie, speaking in Chris' voice, the bass and treble settings adjusted for conversational effect.  Later, the Cyrano routine also works at the set of a school play, and is done at the expense of senior citizens at an old-age home where Maggie devotes her time and is surprised to see Chris in a gown, after he's eaten an elderly woman's heart-shaped jello; of course Ryan is behind the curtain suppling the jock with the right dialogue to woo Maggie within the obligatory bodily gags.

Meanwhile, Ryan is finally adored by Ashley, who loves him for the beating he takes in a touch football game, but the vivacious Ashley manages to embarrass Ryan at every turn, puking on him on a carnival ride, displaying cake on her teeth, and camping out on his front walk in bikini to ensure she will be with him at the prom.  O'Keefe's sexy effeteness goes over the top in one of the weaker narrative lines.

Raynr and scenarist Mark Schwahn conceptualization Titanic Dreams as Gilmore's prom theme and Whatever makes fun of the James Cameron film, as the dance floor splits into an indoor pool.

However, the watchable Sokoloff (The Practice) is too intelligent to have fallen for Chris and is upset at Ryan for lying to her and how he's become less likable before the big night.  It's all a way to get the easy laughs on route to the forecasted finish, preceded with a dominatrix touch, as Whatever It Takes is risque, but far less endearing than the revealing American Pie.

West and Sokoloff are better than what Raynr stages throughout and Franco lets Chris' true hormonal colors hang out.

Unfortunately, Whatever It Takes leans more on sex than romance.

 
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