Review by Sean Boelman
The Cyrano de Bergerac story has been adapted and modernized plenty of times before, so new versions need to do something really unique to stand out. While It Takes Three might not be a success in that regard, the charm of the cast allows this to be an enjoyable enough teen romantic comedy.
The film follows a nerdy kid who is recruited by a popular kid to help him win the heart of the attractive new girl at school. It’s a very basic premise, and the script by Logan Burdick and Blair Mastbaum doesn’t feel the need to reinvent the familiar tropes in any particular way, instead doubling down on the sappy factor to make it work.
As expected for a movie that is aimed primarily at teenagers, the humor isn’t of the most complex variety. There are a lot of jokes about boners and cunnilingus, and while some of them elicit a chuckle, none of them will leave viewers rolling in their seats. Instead, many of the laughs come from secondhand embarrassment.
The film says all of the expected things about self-esteem and manipulation in a way that is palatable to young audiences. And while there is certainly a level of timelessness and universality to these ideas, one would hope that a modernization such as this would at least add something new to the equation.
Similarly, all of the characters in the movie are super archetypal. The protagonist is an awkward nerd who has trouble functioning socially. But the two female leads are even more frustrating. There is the fundamentally shallow love interest who the protagonist likes for her (very clichéd) personality, and the sidekick who is significantly more interesting but still exists to serve the male character’s arc.
Jared Gilman, who is best known for his role in Moonrise Kingdom, is an extremely talented actor and this just proves this point. The fact that he was able to carry a conventional rom-com shows that he deserves to be getting more (and better) work. The supporting cast is mostly over-the-top in their roles.
Director Scott Coffey attempts to do some interesting things with execution at times, but for the most part, he sticks to the glossy, oversaturated teen movie look. There is one sequence that is cross-cut in a way that is almost interesting, but doesn’t embrace the potential quirkiness of the situation.
It Takes Three is good enough for what it is, a simple, charming teen rom-com. Those wanting to watch something original or intellectually challenging won’t be impressed, but it’s a solid way to spend ninety-odd minutes.
It Takes Three is now available on VOD.