If you are a teen-age boy, please get up from the computer and take a look next door. If there's a girl there, look closer. Chances are, she's a lot brighter, cooler and better-looking (after a little cosmetic improvement, maybe) than the babe you've been yearning for.
Ah, if only teen swains would take the above advice. According to Hollywood, they'd all be so much happier. For evidence, consult "Whatever It Takes," the latest in a looooooong line of youth-targeted flicks to reiterate the romantic ideology that there's no place like home."
The myopic young buck this time is Ryan Goodman (Shane West). Despite being an accordion-playing semi-nerd, he pines for Ashley Grant (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe), his school's resident hottie. Maggie (Marla Sokoloff), the girl next door, rolls her eyes when she's exposed to all this pining, but the babe's cousin Chris (James Franco) thinks that Maggie is pretty cute herself. The plot: Each guy helps the other land his dream date for the prom.
Writer Mark Schwahn borrows shamelessly from numerous sources that range from the highbrow ("Cyrano") to the lowbrow (She's All That), and the movie becomes flimsier with each cribbed scene. Director David Raynr (Trippin') seems to miss the ironic possibilities of such rampant plagiarism, and works hard to keep the proceedings on a level no higher than that of, say, "Porky's." (Speaking of that film, there's a shower scene in "Whatever It Takes," too; but it's a PG-13 shower scene, so prurient interest goes down the drain as well.)
The predictable scenarios don't allow the actors many opportunities to distinguish themselves. We don't even have the guilty pleasure of "discovering" a Rachael Leigh Cook or a Rose McGowan among the various stock portrayals.
The only hope for "Whatever It Takes" rests with you horny teen-age guys. Take the girl next door to see it. Then notice if she looks better without her glasses, or because some other guy is eyeing her. She's the one, she's all that, whatever it takes. Whatever.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.