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John Tucker Must Die

In the typical vein of high school teen movies full of joie de vivre, John Tucker Must Die is unadulterated fluff. Derivative but somewhat amusing.


Part Mean Girls, part Heathers—hell, there"s even a little bit of Hilary Duff"s ridiculously stupid The Perfect Man thrown in there—John Tucker Must Die fits the genre nicely. But the word "die" is a little harsh. Actually, when three high school girls—wannabe journalist Carrie (Arielle Kebbel), head cheerleader Heather (Ashanti) and vegan activist Beth (Sophia Bush)—find out they are all dating the delectable John Tucker (Jesse Metcalfe), the school"s basketball star, they decide to get even. After several embarrassing tactics backfire, the girls come up with the perfect idea. They"ll recruit pretty but anonymous new kid Kate (Brittany Snow), doll her up and get Tuck to fall in love with her so she can ceremoniously dump him. Wow, I can"t see anything going wrong with that plan. Not at all.


Talk about some pretty people, John Tucker has got them in spades, starting off with the insanely handsome Metcalfe, who literally had women weak in the knees as the hot gardener who woos Desperate Housewives" Eva Longoria. It"s not a big stretch to see him as the sexy Tuck, the most popular, er, player in school. Then there"s the trio of revengeful hotties: tall, lean and blonde Kebbel (Aquamarine) as the "smart" girl; curvy singer/actress Ashanti (Coach Carter) as the bring-it-on "cheerleader"; and luscious and exotic Bush (TV"s One Tree Hill) as the "experienced" one. But really its the perky Snow"s (The Pacifier) show, effectively playing the "invisible" girl no one knows or even cares to know, who moves around a lot whenever her mother (Jenny McCarthy, in a nice bit part) breaks up with a "John Tucker" herself. What"s wrong with these single moms dragging their daughters all over the place after their hearts get broken?


Betty Thomas, best known for her turn as Sgt. Lucy Bates on Hill Street Blues, doesn"t have the best track record in town as a director (I Spy is hers, for example). But she"s helmed enough passable comedies (The Brady Bunch Movie, Dr. Dolittle) to grant her admittance into the club. Problem here is Thomas isn"t teamed up with a sharp writer like Saturday Night Live alum Tina Fey, whose Mean Girls script simply zings. John Tucker is pretty standard fare, taking bits and pieces from the already established high-school formula. Still, the coveted teen market will more than likely enjoy all the antics in the film—especially the whole "thong" bit in which Tuck, caught wearing a thong in one of the girls" schemes, makes it cool for guys everywhere to wear thongs. Yeah, you get the picture.

Bottom Line rated this film 2 stars.