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Whatever It Takes

review by Justin Meyers

 

Rated PG-13

Running Time: 94 Minutes

Starring Shane West, Marla Sokoloff, Jody Lyn O Keefe, James Franco

Studio: Columbia/Tri-Star

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 impressed.

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 final score)

(4/5)

(4/5)

(3/5)

(3.5/5, NOT an average)

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