`Whatever' will leave you saying, `Whatever'

March 24, 2000|By Chris Hewitt | Chris Hewitt,KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

There's a movie opening today that is so indistinctive I can barely remember its name.

I think it's called "Whatever It Takes," but it could just as easily be "Can't Hardly Wait," "Down to You," "Crazy for You," "Drives Me Crazy," "She's All That" or any of a half-dozen other movies with two teen-agers who don't realize they are perfect for each other, a loopy best friend who doesn't shower, a date that goes horribly wrong and a climactic prom scene in which everybody pairs off.

"Whatever It Takes" has even less going for it than its forebears. The climax is swiped from -- I swear -- "It's a Wonderful Life." The songs on the soundtrack are lackluster. There are way too many poop and crotch jokes, and it also stoops to a gag in which a dopey character confuses the meanings of "thespian" and "lesbian." Stop, my sides are splitting!

The movie doesn't bother to hint at why certain characters are attracted to certain others -- they fall in love because the script (which steals the story, but not the charm, of "Cyrano de Bergerac") tells them to. In fact, the only distinctive element in "Whatever It Takes" is the deftly comic performance by Marla Sokoloff ("The Practice"), who probably wishes she could forget the name of this turkey, too.

`Whatever It Takes'

Starring Shane West, Marla Sokoloff

Directed by David Raynr

Rated PG-13 (sex, underage drinking and language)

Running time 92 minutes

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