Reviewed by GREG KING.
Yet another bland and formulaic teen romantic comedy in the tradition of recent fare like She’s All That, 10 Things I Hate About You, etc, Whatever It Takes explores familiar territory without adding anything fresh or inspiring. Indeed, David Raynr’s light weight film also borrows heavily from the classic Cyrano De Bergerac for a key plot device. Ryan (Shane West) desperately wants to date Ashley (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe), the school’s most popular girl and cheer leader. He strikes a deal with handsome womanising jock Chris (James Franco), who wants to date Maggie (Marla Sokoloff), Ryan’s neighbour and best friend. In true Cyrano style, Ryan coaches Chris in Maggie’s likes and dislikes, and shapes him into a sensitive romantic. In return, Chris teaches Ryan the best way to impress Ashley. But in time, Ryan slowly realises that he actually has more in common with sweet, innocent Maggie than with the voluptuous, selfish Ashley. In the tradition of most of the recent teen films, it all comes together during the climactic prom night celebrations. The plot twists hold few surprises, and audiences should be able to see where the film is headed before too long. Writer/director Raynr handles this material without much flair, although teen audiences will probably enjoy it. The appealing and attractive youthful cast perform their roles with an enthusiasm not warranted by the lacklustre material. Whatever It Takes is mildly entertaining while on the screen, but this light weight film is also eminently forgettable.