I watched Whatever it Takes when I was visiting my parents this past weekend. It wasn’t a good movie, but it could have been.
**** Spoiler Warning: I’m going to talk about the plot in depth. ****
It’s biggest issues stem from two things I’ve been reading about; genre conventions and complexity.
- Genre Conventions: The movie was supposed to be a typical teen film where boys pursue girls to try and get laid. The twist? Two boys are setting each other up with girls that are outside their social circle. One is best friends with one and the other is related to the other girl. Naturally, the best friend finally realizes he’s in love with the girl he’s setting the other guy up with. Now, there are often humorous components to these films, but they’re usually like shaving mishaps or awkward conversations with parents. What did we have instead? Hot girl must be crazy. She invites him to shower with her then freaks out at him when he tries to join her, then they’re in the bedroom later and she has a funky rash on her toes. Later, she’s camping out on his lawn begging pathetically to get him to go to prom with her after he dumped her when he realized he’s in love with the other girl. Boy bringing guitar or accordion to serenade his love is depicted as good, while girl not ready for relationship end is crazy.
- Complexity: You know the prom is usually the moment when love is professed and then it’s followed by the happy ever after. Not in this one. Nope, we have to go to the hotel after to figure out her answer to his accordion serenade because they were naturally having the dance on top of a hard pool cover, which opened up and swallowed a bunch of kids.
I’ve been reading a lot and these are things they recommend not doing. There are specific pieces that should be in a film based on it’s genre and when you deviate, it makes it hard to sell and viewers get pissed off because they got something different than they were marketed. It’s like selling someone a BMW online and when they get it, they have a Ford Fiesta instead.
There was also the way they depicted geek virgins. They had 3 stooge like characters that followed the protagonist around trying to do what he did to get the girl, which was to be an a-hole. Except they were extra bad at it to the point of setting one girl on fire. Because geeks are really dumb enough to think burning someone will get them laid. That was sarcasm in case it’s not translating through text.
What this movie suffered from to me was a lack of picking one genre and realism. What school would sanction a prom dance on top of a pool cover? Not one I’ve been to. I was on prom committee and many other committees for cancer walks, mini-Trojan Day (Trojans as in war horses, not condoms), formals, sport banquets, drama festivals, etc and there would be no way in hell. It doesn’t take that much for keys to get into the wrong hands. Liability is rather a big deal in terms of insurance and what not.
Other problems include casting an attractive and strong male as the geek guy. It’s also chock full of stereotypes. The movie requires too much suspension of disbelief to be enjoyable and there aren’t really any awesome lines or moments that connect with anyone who isn’t shallow. There aren’t many funny moments either that are genuine.
All in all, it didn’t do whatever it takes to make a solid teen rom-com.
Anyway, that’s my take. You might feel different though. The world is full of diverse viewpoints and that’s generally a good thing.
Guid cheerio the nou,