Whatever It Takes

Movie review by
Ellen MacKay, Common Sense Media
Whatever It Takes Movie Poster Image
This is simply an assembly of cinematic cliches.
  • PG-13
  • 2001
  • 94 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teen drinking and smoking.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byDanielN 1 April 3, 2016
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 mo... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byReeex March 23, 2021
Teen, 14 years old Written byalexis1 April 9, 2008


this is a great movie....i love the romance!

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).

Talk to your kids 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

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