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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Whatever It Takes

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  • Being a hacked-up recombination of Cyrano De Bergerac and Sixteen Candles
  • Including casually gross scenes with giant phalluses and projectile vomiting
  • Wasting intense young Method actor James Franco in the role of an insincere high-school jerk
  • Defender
    Director David Raynr with stars Marla Sokoloff and Shane West
  • Tone Of Commentary
    Bruised and regretful. Raynr dominates the conversation with explanations of all "the things you deal with in making a movie," including the fact that Mark Schwahn's script was "very difficult to decipher from page to screen." Raynr grumbles that the critics were hostile, but even he begins his commentary by inviting the viewer to see "what we ended up with."
  • What Went Wrong
    Raynr has a litany of excuses, beginning with the fact that Sokoloff was too pretty and West too cool to pull off their roles as unpopular high-school friends who help each other hook up with the best-looking kids in school. ("But if you cast a real geek, no one would go," Raynr notes.) He also admits that a lot of the movie "doesn't make sense" because the production was plagued with reshoots prompted by sick actors, destroyed footage, MPAA demands, and scenes added to help overseas sales. Over the closing credits, Sokoloff exclaims, "Thank God there were no boy bands on the soundtrack." Raynr replies, "I would've taken a boy band if it would've helped."
  • Comments On The Cast
    When the director tells his commentary-mates that he feels "good about the fact that you guys look great in this movie," Sokoloff and West respond with non-committal "mmm-hmm"s. Raynr also admits that he had to cut around one of Franco's scenes because the actor insisted on eating a hard-boiled egg.
  • Inevitable Dash Of Pretension
    Raynr complains that a scene where Julia Sweeney rolls a condom over a big prop penis would have said "something positive about safe sex" if the MPAA hadn't intervened and had it gutted for the sake of a PG-13 rating.
  • Commentary In A Nutshell
    "The critics said, 'You just pulled out a big dick to get a laugh,'" Raynr says. "But there was a little more to it than that."