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"WHATEVER IT TAKES"
(2000) (Shane West, Marla Sokoloff) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Mild Heavy *Minor Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None None None Moderate
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Minor None Mild Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: Two high school seniors conspire to help each other win the girl of their dreams.
PLOT:
It's a month before the prom at Gilmore High and senior Ryan Woodman (SHANE WEST) doesn't have a date, but still maintains his longtime crush on Ashley Grant (JODI LYN O'KEEFE), the prettiest and most popular girl in school. The problem is, Ashley doesn't even know who Ryan is, particularly since he hangs around with Floyd (AARON PAUL), Cosmo (COLIN HANKS) and Dunleavy (MANU INTIRAYMI) who collectively epitomize the notion of "geekdom."

Ryan's best friend, however, is Maggie (MARLA SOKOLOFF), the girl next door who, despite possessing both beauty and brains, doesn't have a date to the prom either. A solution presents itself when Ashley's cousin, Chris (JAMES FRANCO), proposes a partnership of sorts with Ryan. It seems that despite Chris' popularity at Gilmore, he can't get Maggie interested in him. Thus, he tells Ryan that he'll help him get a date with Ashley if he helps him with Maggie.

With desperation winning out over reluctant better sense, Ryan agrees to the plan. As such, Ryan informs Chris of Maggie's favorite things and even feeds him poetic lines to impress her, while Chris tells Ryan that the best way to get Ashley's attention is to be a jerk to her. Although their dual plans begin to work and the young women begin to fall for the anxious young men, Ryan eventually discovers that Chris' intentions aren't honorable, that he can't live his life acting like someone he's not, and that he's actually interested in Maggie himself.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Since it's aimed at teens, some of them may be interested in seeing it, but this production lacks the marquee names usually associated with drawing that target audience to such films.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For thematic elements, sexual material and language
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • SHANE WEST plays a high school senior who's so desperate to go out with the girl of his dreams that he adopts a different persona and ends up treating his friends badly. He also cusses some.
  • MARLA SOKOLOFF plays his best friend and next-door neighbor who reluctantly agrees to go out with Chris because of Ryan's actions. She often wears low-cut and tight-fitting tank tops.
  • JODI LYN O'KEEFE plays the most popular girl in school who's something a snobbish airhead who ends up wanting to have sex with Ryan.
  • JAMES FRANCO plays the high school jock who offers to help Ryan so that he can eventually try to bed Maggie.
  • AARON PAUL plays Ryan's geeky friend who wants to pull off an outrageous, end of the school year prank that will make him a high school legend.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this teen-based, PG-13 rated comedy. Profanity consists of a possible "f" word (or what sounded like it), along with at least 7 "s" words, other profanities, slang terms and plenty of colorful phrases. Sexual content consists of implied encounters, some foreplay, related dialogue and both young men and women seen in skimpy and/or tight-fitting outfits. In addition, a several foot tall, realistic and erect model of a penis is seen during a school-based sex-ed talk.

    Various characters have bad attitudes toward others, while some scatological material is present, as is some teen drinking and brief smoking. Meanwhile, some imitative behavior is also present, while violence consists of people being hit with baseballs, feet to the crotch or larger football players.

    If the preceding isn't specific enough to address your concerns about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may wish to see it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our more detailed content listings.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Students, including Ryan and Chris, drink beer at a party.
  • Trying to think of an excuse for Chris, Ryan jokingly tells him to tell Maggie that his dad is on "crack" (cocaine).
  • People have wine in a restaurant.
  • Maggie and others drink on the beach.
  • Maggie and others have champagne in a limo.
  • Floyd uses what looks like a bottle of booze to short circuit a control panel.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • After Ashley purposefully gulps down her drink at a carnival so that she'll then vomit on Ryan, she does just that and we see the vomit hit his face and shirt.
  • Ryan has Chris volunteer at a nursing home trying to impress Maggie. An older man there asks Ryan if he can empty his bedpan and its contents slosh out, while an older woman announces that she has to go "number two" in the bathroom and wants Chris to help her. As he carries her into the bathroom, we hear various farting sounds.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Ashley has a snobbish and condescendingly mean attitude toward anyone not in her clique (and makes similar mean remarks to a midget at a carnival and later to a waitress and fellow classmate).
  • Chris is a jerk who only wants to go out with Maggie presumably to get her in bed. As such, Chris tells Ryan that he's going to do the old "nail and bail" (have sex and then leave) with Maggie.
  • Ryan agrees to help Chris impress Maggie just so that he can go date Ashley. Once he starts doing just that, he adopts her bad attitude toward his geeky friends so as to appear as if having the same elitist mindset (although he immediately feels bad about doing so).
  • A school maintenance man has male students pay him to allow them access into the girl's locker room and Ryan, who doesn't initially know what he's doing there (his friend has brought him along), then tries to sneak a peak at Ashley in a shower stall.
  • Chris tells Ryan that the way to get Ashley to like him is to insult her and generally be mean toward her.
  • Chris complains that some residents of a nursing home stink and calls a woman an "old bag."
  • The school's baseball coach calls a hitter "a girl" and a "wuss" for not being in the batter's box to face his erratic pitches.
  • Other students are demeaning/condescending toward the geeks.
  • Floyd and his buddies set up a practical joke so that the gymnasium floor opens up during the dance to the swimming pool below, causing students and tables, etc. to fall into the water (thus ruining the dance and endangering the lives of the students).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • A cop takes Floyd out into the woods at night and makes him dig a hole in the ground as if he's going to possibly kill him, but practically no one will believe that and will have easily and correctly guessed the cop's identity and reasons for the hole long before the truth is revealed.Fake/stage Sword: Held by Chris in a theater.
  • Handgun: Worn by a police officer.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Phrases: "Take a sh*t," "Dipsh*t," "Laid" and "Nail" (sexual), "P*ckerhead," "D*ck heads," "You suck with women," "My ass," "Bitch," "Idiots," "Chicks" (women), "Jerk," "Nuts" (crazy), "Don't screw this up," "Piss her off," "Shut up," "Stones" (testicles), "Old bag" (for a senior citizen), "Pissed," "Wuss," "Jackass," "Piss ant," "Douche bag," "Loser," "Fags," "Dumb ass," "Whores," "Bastard," "Freak" and "That really hurts like hell."
  • Ashley wears a shirt-like top that's only tied between her breasts (thus exposing skin above and below that point) and later wears a see-through dress (we can see her bra and panties through it). Meanwhile Maggie often wears low-cut, tight-fitting tank tops (that show off the shape of her ample bosom).
  • We see a student at a party who's been completely wrapped up in duct tape (although we don't see the actual act of others doing it).
  • Ashley throws her drink on Ryan.
  • Some students throw firecrackers at a party.
  • Chris tells Ryan that the way to get Ashley to like him is to insult her and generally be mean toward her (he even pushes Ryan into Ashley, making her fall into a pool, all of which eventually works and the two start dating).
  • Ashley purposefully gulps down her drink at a carnival so that she'll then vomit on Ryan (which she does).
  • We see that Ashley has a pierced belly button (with a ring in it).
  • Floyd and his buddies set up a practical joke so that the gymnasium floor opens up during the dance to the swimming pool below, causing students and tables, etc. to fall into the water.
  • Ryan jumps from his balcony over to Maggie's.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • None.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • There's 1 possible "f" word (or something that sounded like it), as well as at least 7 "s" words, 2 slang terms for sex ("laid" and "nail"), 6 slang terms for/using male genitals ("d*ck," "p*cker" and "sausage"), 14 asses (6 used with "hole" and 1 written), 5 hells, 2 damns, 1 crap, 10 uses of "Oh my God" and 1 use each of "G-damn," "For God's sakes," "God" and "Jesus" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Ashley wears a shirt-like top that's only tied between her breasts (thus exposing skin above and below that point) and later wears a see-through dress (we can see her bra and panties through it). Meanwhile Maggie often wears low-cut, tight-fitting tank tops (that show off the shape of her ample bosom and/or show cleavage).
  • While seated in the high school auditorium, Chris won't move his leg to let Maggie by unless she "pays the toll." When she asks if that means a "kick in the face," he replies that it depends on whether she'd be naked doing that.
  • Ryan's mom, the school nurse, addresses the student body, stating that with the upcoming summer months that it would be a good time to talk about safe sex. She then rolls out a huge, anatomically correct, but five-foot high erect penis that she uses as a prop (that causes one of Ryan's friends to jokingly ask if she got that out of her personal collection). She then pulls out an appropriately huge condom (still in the wrapper) and continues her speech, but we don't hear much of it as the foreground dialogue focuses on Ashley, Ryan and others. Later, we briefly see the huge penis prop again.
  • Although he doesn't know what he's getting himself into, Ryan follows a school maintenance man who lets him into a backdoor of the girl's locker room. There, he sees Ashley in just a towel (and then in a shower stall although its wall blocks any explicit nudity - we do briefly see her bare back) before eventually running out.
  • A male student repeats a finding from some poll about women preferring "technique" over "physical size" and Floyd twists the word "hunchback" by saying he'd like to hunch some girl's back.
  • Chris asks Maggie if something gets her "hot."
  • Chris points out some guys at a party (who've just thrown firecrackers to scare some girls in a flirtatious way) and states, "They're going to get laid tonight." We also see some girls in skimpy bikinis at the party as well as other students making out.
  • At school and near the pool, we see Ashley in her small bikini that shows part of her bare butt (and also see other girls in even skimpier bikinis that show parts of the sides of their bare breasts). Floyd then comes out and states, "There they are," and takes a close-up picture of those bikini-covered breasts.
  • We see a realistic, poster-like painting of a voluptuous woman in a skimpy bikini (in a sensuous pose with her legs spread) that covers Chris' in-closet dresser drawers. At one moment, he walks over and pulls open the drawer that's positioned at this woman's crotch.
  • When Ryan tells Chris that Maggie is nervous, Chris wonders if it's a nervous stomach and then blames it on "the pill."
  • It sounds like Chris mentions that a girl needs a "d*ck job."
  • We see some geeky guys starring at their computer waiting for a porno picture to download (we see that it's of a woman, but the image has not yet appeared from her neck down).
  • At the end of their date, Ashley sensuously sucks on Ryan's finger (as if emulating oral sex, but nothing else happens). Chris then holds his finger out for Maggie, but she only shakes it before saying goodnight.
  • After mistaking Maggie's comment about being a "thespian" for "lesbian," Chris states that he's glad she's not much of one or he would have been wasting his time for someone who's "only into chicks."
  • We briefly see some pictures of several scantily clad hookers (nothing too explicit) the geeks are considering hiring to go to the prom with them.
  • Ashley makes some suggestive comments to Ryan about "being excited about tonight."
  • While seated in a fine restaurant, Ashley runs her foot up along the inside of Ryan's thigh. She accidentally kicks him in the crotch, however, when the waiter surprises her. Once he leaves, she then slides over to Ryan and says, "Let momma rub it" (but we don't see her doing so).
  • We see two guys' bare butts as they moon some people on the beach.
  • The camera focuses down Ashley's clothed body as Ryan does the same (upon returning to her empty house). She then gets on her bed and suggestively asks if he has any idea what they can do. She then pulls out some underwear, tells him that she can model it for him, and then adds that it's a thong. She then announces that she's going to take a shower (she takes off her skirt and we see her in her non-thong underwear) and then suggestively adds that he can join her. He quickly gets undressed (no nudity) and opens the shower door wearing just a towel. She turns around and screams (while covering her bare breasts) and tells him that her invite wasn't serious. Moments later, however, she returns to the bedroom wearing her robe and climbs on top of him on the bed. She then wonders aloud if Chris and Maggie "have done it yet," and then says that if they haven't, they will. When she realizes that Ryan isn't in a physically aroused state, she then states that maybe they can do it another time, "When you're up to it."
  • We see Chris and Maggie making out in a movie theater.
  • Chris tells Ryan that he's going to do the old "nail and bail" (have sex and then leave) with Maggie.
  • We see Ashley in a bikini-like top that shows cleavage. Later, we see her in a full bikini that also shows cleavage.
  • The geeks watch some sort of porno or soft-core film (nothing explicit is seen) and talk about "twosomes" and "threesomes."
  • After the prom, it appears that nearly all of the students are at a hotel for partying and/or sex. In their own room, Maggie tells Chris to get comfortable, so he takes off his pants revealing him in tiny, thong-like underwear. She then ends up tying him spread eagle and face up on the bed (with the bulge in his small underwear quite noticeable as that's all he's now wearing). After pouring oil and his chest and putting a mask over his eyes, Chris thinks he's in heaven and makes a comment about good girls gone bad. However, she ends up just taking a Polaroid of him and leaving him for others out in the hallway to see and laugh at (and later write on with their lipstick, etc.).
  • In another room, Ashley throws Ryan to the bed and says, "On your back, stallion" and tears open his shirt. He leaves moments later, however, with the excuse that he's going to get champagne. Another student later finds his card key at the door and enters the darkened hotel room where we hear Ashley tell this student not to turn on the lights and to just have her. Later, that student walks out looking happy and dazed with several hickeys on his neck.
  • The next morning in a hotel hallway we see various undergarments hanging on signs, etc., suggesting that at minimum some disrobing took place out there.
  • SMOKING
  • Students smoke at a party, a carny has a cigar and the baseball coach holds a tobacco product.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • None.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Trying to impress others by acting like someone other than yourself.
  • Chris tells Ryan that the way to get Ashley to like him is to insult her and generally be mean toward her.
  • VIOLENCE
  • A running gag in the film has the school's baseball coach repeatedly throwing wild pitches toward batters. As such, Ryan is hit in the head with one (he's wearing a helmet) and falls to the ground (but is okay) and we then see another batter also be hit.
  • Seeing that some guys at a party impressed some girls by flirtatiously throwing firecrackers near them, Floyd does the same to some other girls. We then see those girls with some burn marks and holes in their clothing from the subsequent small explosions.
  • Chris throws a stuffed bear from atop a Ferris wheel that accidentally lands on a boy below it, knocking him to the ground.
  • Ryan plays in a football game with Chris and his friends where those much larger guys clothesline Ryan and then pile on him during a tackle.
  • While seated in a fine restaurant, Ashley runs her foot up along the inside of Ryan's thigh. She accidentally kicks him in the crotch, however, when the waiter surprises her.
  • A line drive baseball hits the baseball coach in the crotch.
  • Ryan kicks out the glass window on a school door to get into the music room.
  • Floyd shatters what looks like a bottle of booze on a control panel to cause it to short circuit.
  • Students and tables fall into a swimming pool as a gymnasium floor slowly retracts, exposing the pool below it.



  • Reviewed March 21, 2000 / Posted March 24, 2000

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