Whatever It Takes

on March 24, 2000 by Mike Kerrigan
   Yet another take on Cyrano de Bergerac, this one set in high school. However, instead of having a physical feature that holds him back, our hero (Shane West) is just not as popular as some of the jocks. And his Roxanne (Marla Sokoloff) is not some ethereal beauty, but his next-door neighbor with whom he has grown up.
   Wait a minute--this isn't Cyrano, this is "Dawson's Creek," except it's nowhere near as well written as the TV soap, with characters that aren't a tenth as interesting.
   It has a few moments. The de rigeur scene of wooing by proxy is now amusingly done with the help of two-line phones and an elaborate home recording system. The prom with the "Titanic" theme is held in the gym, the moveable floor of which covers the swimming pool. No prizes for guessing what happens, but it is entertainingly done.
   The trouble with "Whatever It Takes" is that it is just too stiff. It never has enough confidence to let itself go and shock or surprise the audience. This is filmmaking equivalent of painting by numbers. It's a pity because it's an attractive cast with solid small-screen credentials (West is Billy Campbell's son in "Once and Again," Sokoloff the sassy receptionist in "The Practice," Jodi Lyn O'Keefe is Don Johnson's daughter in "Nash Bridges" and James Franco was in "Freaks and Geeks"). But diector David Raynr (a former actor who played Sammy Davis Jr. in the '92 telepic "Sinatra") lets them walk through this piece. It is not a good sign when perhaps the most memorable thing about a movie is the music. Starring Shane West, Marla Sokoloff, Jodi Lyn O'Keefe and James Franco. Directed by David Raynr. Written by Mark Schwahn. Produced by Matt Berenson and Mark Schwahn. Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, sexual material and language. Running time: 91 min
Tags: Shane West, Marla Sokoloff, Jodi Lyn O'Keefe, James Franco, David Raynr, Matt Berenson, Mark Schwahn, sexual, gym, swimming pool, jocks, high school

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