Owen Gleiberman
March 31, 2000 AT 05:00 AM EST

Whatever It Takes

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
runtime
92 minutes
performer
James Franco, Marla Sokoloff, Shane West
director
David Raynr
distributor
Columbia Pictures
author
Mark Schwahn
genre
Comedy

We gave it a C-

Like those fashion ads that feature eerie celebrity doppelgängers (the ones that make you do a double take before you realize that no, that’s NOT Brad Pitt hawking Armani sunglasses), the teen comedy Whatever It Takes is populated by ersatz versions of stars who, in this case, are fairly vanilla to begin with. Shane West, as the earnest, accordion-playing, too-nice-for-his-own-good hero, could be a milder Tom Everett Scott; Marla Sokoloff, as his too-insecure-for-her-own-good best friend, resembles a less edgy Neve Campbell (a frightening thought indeed).

Both of these squares get hooked up with members of the cool crowd, only to discover that looks aren’t everything. It’s a measure of how low teen movies have sunk that Ashley (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe), the tawny fashionista who sees all those around her as lesser humans, is the most interesting person on screen. The sweet, bland romantics are supposed to be made for each other, but it’s more like they deserve each other.

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