Whatever It Takes Movie Poster Image

Whatever It Takes



This is simply an assembly of cinematic cliches.
  • Review Date: July 2, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2001
  • Running Time: 94 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Girls are basically sex toys; virtually no students of color appear. Explicit bathroom humor.


Some bone-crunching "touch" football; a gym coach repeatedly beans his baseball players.


Women are pursued solely for sexual gratification; teenage girls are scarily experienced, modeling lingerie and hinting at their bedroom talents. A jock wearing only a thong is tied up and blindfolded, then displayed to his classmates. Lots of groping, innuendo, porn references, and one sex-ed scene with a five-foot model of the male sex organ.


Moderate bathroom and sexual profanity and phallic references.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Teen drinking and smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that some teens will want to see it, but a lot of reprehensible behavior and irresponsibly is presented here. There are many sexual references, as well as a lot of profanity.

Kids say

Not yet rated
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What's the story?

Geeky Ryan (Shane West) has a crush on popular girl Ashley (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe), much to the dismay of his less-flashy friend Maggie (Marla Sokoloff). Meanwhile, school football stud Chris (James Franco) has his eyes set on Maggie. Ryan and Chris team up to help each other get their respective girls.

Is it any good?


While escapism can be fun, this is simply an assembly of cinematic clichés. From It's A Wonderful Life, there's the scene of the kids at the prom falling into a pool as the gym floor retracts. From There's Something About Mary, there's explicit bathroom humor. And from Clueless, 10 Things I Hate About You, and She's All That, there's the literary adaptation angle. But what those movies did with Emma, The Taming of the Shrew, and Pygmalion was far more successful. This one is just a rip off.

WHATEVER IT TAKES follows the cinematic formula of casting unusually good-looking and savvy characters as losers. So when Ryan overlooks girl next door Maggie for Ashley, you'll spot the first case of Hollywood illogic at work. Far more grating is the way the women in this movie are so easily seduced; Maggie's blindness to Chris's crude egotism strains belief, and Ashley's desperate and self-destructive desire for Ryan is not just implausible, it's offensive. The more interesting characters are those that get the least screen time. Ryan's pack of oddball buddies provide a few nifty comic turns, and two thirteen-year-old girls laughed at SNL alum Julia Sweeney's antics as the school nurse (also Ryan's mom). But basically this is the usual teen flick routine: kids party in fabulous homes, dress impeccably, and partake in orgiastic sex (offscreen).

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the theme of two male teenagers deceiving their female friends to help one another get into bed with them.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 30, 2001
DVD release date:October 30, 2001
Cast:James Franco, Marla Sokoloff, Shane West
Director:David Raynr
Studio:Sony Pictures
Run time:94 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:thematic elements, sexual material, and language

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Adult Written bygoodgirl June 28, 2015

a 2000's movie mostly for teens and adults eh maybe tweens.

I prefer this movie to Get Over It. its a lot better and it rocks . I like how its a cool 2000's movie . the boy and the girl end up together . a movie mostly for teens adults and tweens too.
What other families should know
Great messages
Parent of a 13 year old Written bydramaqueen@hotm... November 28, 2012

cool movie for the teenagers!

this movie i love it! and i would say it would be good for teenagers cause its a teenage movie. i don't think younger kids will get into this movie but 13 and up hey thats alright.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Educator Written bycaffinegirl85 April 29, 2012


love this filck so cute wow great movie all i gotta say!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing


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