Parents' Guide to

Whatever It Takes

By Ellen MacKay, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

This is simply an assembly of cinematic cliches.

Movie PG-13 2001 94 minutes
Whatever It Takes Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 16+

It is a really good movie funny commedy

age 12+

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.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (1 ):

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).

Movie Details

  • In theaters: October 30, 2001
  • On DVD or streaming: October 30, 2001
  • Cast: James Franco , Marla Sokoloff , Shane West
  • Director: David Raynr
  • Inclusion Information: Black directors
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Run time: 94 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: thematic elements, sexual material, and language
  • Last updated: December 30, 2023

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