Whatever It Takes
review by Justin Meyers
Running Time: 94 Minutes
Starring Shane West, Marla Sokoloff, Jody Lyn O Keefe,
Directed by David Raynr
Retail Price: $24.95
Features: Theatrical Trailers, Audio Commentary with
David Raynr, Marla Sokoloff, Featurette, Deleted Scenes,
Talent Files, DVD-ROM: Weblinks
Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, 1.33:1 Full Screen,
5.1 Dolby Digital English, English Dolby Surround,
English Captions, Chapter Search
High-School Senior Ryan (Shane West) has a crush on sexy,
popular Ashley (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe). Ryan's best friend Maggie
(Marla Sokoloff) thinks he should get over it already. But
Ashley's super jock cousin Chris (James Franco) has the hots
for Maggie, and he's willing to do whatever it takes,
including swapping identities and advice with Ryan, to win
her heart. Everyone's got a date by prom time, but does
anyone truly match up? Mistaken identities are part of the
fun of falling in love.
I'll be the first one to admit it; I love the teen comedy
genre. I don't know what it is about it. I guess it reminds
me of my high school days or I just like looking at hot
young adults trying to get what they want in life. Whatever
it Takes wasn't as popular as American Pie, or even She's
All That for that matter but it is fun all the same. I liked
how it was filmed and the way the director tried to have
funny moments in the background, not to distract the
characters. I really enjoyed how they made fun of Titanic at
the end. While trying to stay at a PG-13 level, they got
away with some pretty gross and sexual obscurities.
I enjoyed seeing Ryan chasing after the girl of his
dreams. I knew how he felt when he found out she wasn't
really his type and he was chasing after the wrong girl the
whole time. The cast while mostly unknown really shined as
the teens they were trying to be. Most of them are in their
early twenties but were believable as teenagers.
The bad guy Chris was really a worm, and you loved to
hate him. Ryan was supposed to be a geek, but you didn't
really feel he was, except when he hung out with his loser
friends. Ashley was the sexy girl everyone loved, but deep
down she was not all that hot and a little gross. Maggie was
hot, but her best friend Ryan didn't see that until it was
too late, and she was already hooked up with bad guy Chris.
I thought it was cliched and a little unrealistic but I
enjoyed it. It is a good renter with a couple of friends.
The video on Whatever it Takes is in 1.85:1 anamorphic
widescreen. The transfer is very crisp, clear, and vivid.
The colors and flesh tones are perfect. Although I did
notice some artifact and a little grain in the party scenes,
and in the ending prom scenes, it's not all that bad. There
are no pixelation or compression problems that I noticed.
The fullscreen version on side B of this disc is pretty much
the same. It is a pretty good transfer.
The audio, in Dolby Digital 5.1, is great. Music is very
good and clear, and the same goes with sound effects. Rear
surround speakers are used sometimes. The bass is very nice
and loud at the appropriate times, and it never overpowers
the speakers. Whatever it Takes also has an English 2.0
soundtrack for people with that kind of sound system. There
is also an isolated music score. There is some great music
on this movie.
For a very good example of the sound quality, go to
37:31. It is a roller coaster scene where the surround and
the bass pick up really well. You and your system will be
There are quite a few extras on this Special Edition.
First you get three Theatrical Trailers, one for this movie
and two for other teen comedies. Cant Hardly Wait which is
in widescreen, and Jawbreaker. They are very good to see and
are in very good quality.
There is a Commentary with the Director David Raynr, and
cast members Shane West and Marla Sokoloff. I really enjoyed
it. It made me respect the movie in so many more other
levels. The director, who is African-American, explains why
they're weren't many minorities in the picture. He also
tells us how many scenes he had to re-shoot and cut to
achieve the PG-13 rating. The director talks quite a bit
about everything you may want to know. This commentary is
one of the best I've listened to.
There are four deleted scenes that weren't really missed.
They basically tell what we already know in the story and
were probably deleted because of this. While interesting to
see they don't do much.
Included is a 3-minute featurette. While there are a few
interviews it tells what we already know. There are a few
behind the scene shots and an interview with the director,
about what he thinks of the story. It is too short and
doesn't tell us anything new.
There are also talent files, production notes, and a
direct weblink for DVD-ROM. There are some nice quality
extras here, I really enjoyed them and I bet you will too.
This Special Edition DVD is really great. It has a great
quality picture and sound. A pretty good movie, and some
nice extras. Columbia did well with this one. It isn't worth
the Special Edition price tag ($24.95), but if you find it
for $17.46 like I did, you will not be disappointed.
(3.5/5, NOT included in
(3.5/5, NOT an average)