Whatever it Takes

January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Ryan Woodman (Shane West) and Maggie Carter (Marla Sokoloff) are best friends who have lived next door to each other for what seems like forever. While the two have a lot in common and open up to each other, the romance has never sparked between them for some reason. It seem as though the two want to date others who are more popular or attractive, thus when Ryan is offered the chance to do just that…he takes it. This chance is offered by the school jock Chris Campbell (James Franco) and the girl involved is the school’s most popular female, Ashley (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe) who is also a little ditzy to say the least. Ashley is Chris’ cousin, so he knows he can hook up Ryan…but he wants a little something in return. Chris is taken with Maggie and wants Ryan to help him gain her affections, even if it means he becomes a new person in order to do it. So it seems like these two guys are close to hooking up with their dream girls and though it won’t be easy, they’re dedicated to making it happen and doing whatever it takes.

As you all know I am a total sucker for teen comedies, so of course I was looking forward to reviewing this disc and now I can do just that. I missed this at theater and I guess a lot of other people did too, since the box office was very low. But I pay grosses no mind and as such I prepared myself for yet another journey into the world of high school romance. I’ve now seen the movie of course and it was exactly what I expected, which isn’t a bad thing. I expected a funny movie with some stereotypical characters that seemed familiar to several other teen flicks, and that’s what this is. The storyline is better here than in most movies in this vein, but other than that this one is right in the middle of the pack as far as quality. If you loathe movies like Drive Me Crazy and She’s All That, then this film won’t do much for you in the end either. But if you’re like me and you like your teen comedies light, this one is more than worth the effort, especially with a superb disc like this one. I recommend a rental to teen comedy fans and if you like the movie, make sure to pick up this excellent disc for your own collection.

This film was directed by David Raynr, who has very limited experience as a director though you wouldn’t know from this film. Since this is a dialogue driven picture there isn’t much call for flashy directing, but Raynr manages to utilize some nice compositions and movements. Most of the time Raynr uses a more basic and less distracting style, but he does show some visual flair from time to time. Raynr seems to have a nice grasp of comedies and I hope to see more from him in the future, hopefully in the same vein as this outing. Raynr has only directed one other motion picture Trippin’, but it is quite funny and worth a look. This film features four leads and a nice ensemble supporting cast, which seems to work out well. Shane West (Liberty Heights, Getting Over Allison), Marla Sokoloff (The Baby-Sitters Club, Sugar and Spice), and James Franco (Never Been Kissed) all turn in solid performances for a film of this type, but the show is stolen by Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (Halloween: H20, She’s All That). The supporting cast includes Colin Hanks (That Thing You Do!), Aaron Paul (A Fate Totally Worse Than Death), Julia Sweeney (It’s Pat, Thick As Thieves), and Manu Intiraymi (Go, Senseless).

Video: How does it look?

Whatever It Takes is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, with a full frame version included on the disc’s flip side. This is another fantastic Columbia/Tristar transfer, with a pristine source print and no visible compression hiccups. The colors are out of this world, the hues stream across the screen and are so packed with color I expect them to explode. As rich as they are I noticed minimal smears and bleeds and flesh tones were natural and warm. The contrast is also terrific, sporting deep and complex shadows and high visible detail level.

Audio: How does it sound?

This is a dialogue driven film at heart, but like most teen comedies this has a loud soundtrack that will bring the surrounds to life. Aside from the music though, I didn’t notice much surround use but then again the material doesn’t call for much else. There is some minor and subtle use of the rear channels, but not much so don’t expect a powerhouse mix. The main focus in this mix is on dialogue, which sounds clean and clear at all times. A 2.0 surround track has also been included as well as English subtitles.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This is a full blown special edition release from Columbia/Tristar and with a wealth of bonus materials, it deserves the name to be sure. The usual production notes, talent files, and theatrical trailers have been included of course, but that’s just the beginning. A three minute featurette is included which contains interviews and clips from the movie, but this is basically a fluff promotional piece. This release also features four deleted scenes which are very brief, but quite funny. Two alternate audio tracks round out the extras, the first being an isolated music score which makes for a fun listen. The final supplement is an audio commentary which features director David Raynr and actors Shane West and Marla Sokoloff. This is a very funny track and though it seems to be focused on having a good time, but there is also plenty of information to be gleaned as well.

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