Title Card - Whatever It Takes (2023)
"Title Card," Whatever It Takes, directed by Tailiah Breon, 2023, (BET Plus)

In what may feel like a stuffed holiday movie, three women face romantic or platonic love, with reactions that remind you how challenging serious relationships can be.


Read our Editorial Guidelines regarding how posts are written and rated and our use of affiliate links.


In what may feel like a stuffed holiday movie, three women face romantic or platonic love, with reactions that remind you how challenging serious relationships can be.

Plot Summary

Read our Editorial Guidelines regarding how posts are written and rated and our use of affiliate links.

Joan, Tracy, and India all work at the same school and have been friends for years. However, while their friendship has ebbed and flowed, mainly due to Joan’s notable temper, their love lives are far more chaotic.

For Joan, her relationship with her ex-husband, Devin Senior, is volatile, but she is trying to make it work, even though everyone, including her son Devin Junior, thinks she should let it go.

As for Tracy? She and Cleotis, aka Juju, have been together since they were teenagers, and their relationship hasn’t evolved in the way Tracy wants. This pushes her to question if she should begin moving on, despite them having a young daughter together.

Which leaves India. She has prayed for years to have a good man, and God hasn’t delivered until now. But, with the delivery coming in the form of Devin Junior? Whose momma is Joan? Whether or not India can enjoy the man she raised, and for how long, is a constant question as she wracks her brain regarding not only Joan finding out but their age difference.

General Information

Title Card - Whatever It Takes (2023)
“Title Card,” Whatever It Takes, directed by Tailiah Breon, 2023, (BET Plus)

Director(s)

Tailiah Breon

Screenplay By

Tu-Shonda Whitaker, Amaleka McCall

Based On Work By

N/A

Date Released

December 21, 2023

How To Watch

BET Plus

Genre(s)

Comedy

Drama

Romance

Holiday

Film Length

1 Hour 52 Minutes

Content Rating

Rated TV-14

Noted Characters and Cast

Tracy

Tami Roman

Joan

Kandi Burruss

India

Brely Evans

Cleotis “Juju”

Rayan Lawrence

Devin Sr.

Kendrick Cross

Devin Jr.

Zuri James

Content Rating Explanation

  • Dialog: Moderate amount of cursing
  • Violence: Threats of domestic violence
  • Sexual Content: Nothing notable
  • Miscellaneous: Drinking

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Tracy

Tracy (Tami Roman)
“Tracy (Tami Roman),” Whatever It Takes, directed by Tailiah Breon, 2023, (BET Plus)

The peacekeeper between Joan and India, who often can butt heads, Tracy is torn between sticking by her man of nearly two decades or seeking what else is out there.

Joan

Joan (Kandi Burruss)
“Joan (Kandi Burruss),” Whatever It Takes, directed by Tailiah Breon, 2023, (BET Plus)

Joan, like India, is a teacher, but Joan has a temper unlike India. Her temper leads her to curse someone out one minute and give puppy dog eyes the next, hoping to be forgiven for going too far.

  • The actor is also known for their role in “The Chi.”

India

India (Brely Evans) and Devin Jr (Zuri James)
“India (Brely Evans) and Devin Jr (Zuri James),” Whatever It Takes, directed by Tailiah Breon, 2023, (BET Plus)

India has been looking for love in all the wrong places, and when love doesn’t come, she usually cooks as she recovers or hides away.

Cleotis “Juju”

Cleotis aka Juju (Rayan Lawrence)
“Cleotis aka Juju (Rayan Lawrence),” Whatever It Takes, directed by Tailiah Breon, 2023, (BET Plus)

Cleotis, whose street name is “Juju,” is Tracy’s man who used to be a drug dealer back in the day, but after getting arrested, he has made an effort to clean up his act. The problem is, finding a job.

Devin Sr.

Devin Sr. (Kendrick Cross)
“Devin Sr. (Kendrick Cross),” Whatever It Takes, directed by Tailiah Breon, 2023, (BET Plus)

Devin Sr. was pressured into marrying Joan, and there was some effort to make it work. However, with getting married young and not having the same rearing Joan had about relationships and virtue, Devin Sr. cheated and broke Joan’s trust multiple times.

Devin Jr.

Devin Jr. is Devin Sr. and Joan’s son, whom she raised on her own and supported all the way to him becoming an accomplished lawyer.

Review

Our Rating: Mixed (Divisive)

Highlights

Tracy’s Storyline

“Whatever It Takes” pushes the idea that Tami Roman needs to be the lead more often and not a co-lead or part of an ensemble. Her storyline with Lawrence’s character drew in the most interest and had performances that didn’t feel over the top.

Now, yes, it had drama that could make you roll your eyes, especially as Tracy learned someone she was messing around with was connected to someone she met through one of Joan’s friends. But, the conversations, the history, even a moment when Juju got so mad he broke a mirror, that created the type of drama and relationship you wanted to see develop, even if it was just heading towards its end.

On The Fence

The Time Length

With all three ladies getting equal time and Joan some extra time due to her making a friend outside the trio, this movie is a packed two hours, and it feels like it, too. Which, with most holiday movies being an hour and a half, two thanks to commercials, made this feel sluggish. Especially since, as noted in Tracy’s highlight, while we get one quality storyline, the others? They felt a bit over the top.

India and Joan’s Storyline

On their own, Joan and India’s storylines aren’t terrible. I think the problem is that there isn’t enough time given to the stories, and because of that, ways to compensate for that are implemented. Mainly, it feels like heightened drama is used to compensate for the writing and lack of time to really play out each character’s issues.

Regarding Joan, she has aimed to be perfect and has expected that of everyone for most of her life, partly due to her mom and her dad. But, you can tell some things should have been explored with that but weren’t.

Whether it is her mom potentially not knowing who Joan’s dad is, due to dementia, Joan’s fears of ending up alone, or her often misdirected anger. Joan has a lot going on that is hinted at or taken up a few notches but not delivered in a way that can be considered satisfying.

Then, when it comes to India? Honestly, a part of me would have loved to know her story. From the bad dates and relationships to how she runs away from good things and even exploring the joys and challenges of her dating a younger man, that all could have been so interesting. Yet, we end up with a meek version of that as it becomes clear balancing the three leads was a challenge.

Good If You Like

  • Movies about sometimes complicated and intense friendships, paired with each lead having challenging love lives.

Recommendations

If you like this movie, we recommend:

  1. If Not Now, When?

Check out our movies page for our latest movie reviews and recommendations.


Listed Under Categories: ,


Follow, Like and Subscribe


Whatever It Takes (2023) – Movie Review

Summary

“Whatever It Takes,” unfortunately, is unable to balance the storylines of its three leads, and with the performances feeling lopsided, it wastes the potential it has.

Overall
76%
76%
  • Tracy’s Storyline - 82%
    82%
  • The Time Length - 73%
    73%
  • India and Joan’s Storyline - 74%
    74%

Highlight(s)

  • Tracy’s Storyline

Disputable

  • India and Joan’s Storyline
  • The Time Length

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.