John Tucker Must Die follows the recently popular formula for inane teenage entertainment. It gathers together a group of twenty-something soap stars and singers with Abercrombie & Fitch bodies, casts them as unscrupulous high school students bent on being popular enough to get each other in the sack, and puts them through the same old ridiculous scenarios and tired visual gags. Once again, a movie has emerged with two apparent purposes for its obvious target audience: steal their money and dim their intelligence.
If it were possible, the characters could be considered less than one dimensional. There’s John Tucker (Jesse Metcalfe), the all balls and no brain jock star who could well be on his way to getting an academic scholarship from Harvard’s LaCrosse team. He’s in trouble for dating and sleeping with all the sufficiently pretty girls in school at the same time. His sneaky, horny tactics pay off until three of the girls figure out what’s going on. Heather, (Ashanti) the busty cheerleader, Beth, (Sophia Bush) the over-sexed idealist, and Carrie (Arielle Kebbel) the ditzy brainiac (go figure that one), discover John’s been cheating on all of them and decide they need to take revenge. Their goal is to make him completely undateable and crush his homornal male spirit. To do it they enlist the help of Kate (Brittany Snow), an innocent loner and the only pretty girl in school that John hasn’t bedded.
John Tucker quickly becomes a metaphor for every guy who is out there charming women into bed and then skipping out with the sunrise. His last name also quickly becomes one of the lamer running jokes throughout the film. The girls exclaim that they’re tired of dating one Tucker after another. Of course, he could have been John Nassole, or John Chitthed, but since the movie has to maintain a PG-13 rating, Tucker is the better choice for getting those golden “f”-word giggles out of the teenage crowd.
Along the way the movie dances around with the idea of developing some kind of positive message, which might have been a good idea. However, each time the story comes within arms reach of a redeeming quality, it turns around and erupts into a tantrum, food fight, or some other infantile comedic activity. Ironically, the only character that learns anything truly valuable about herself is Kate’s mother, played by the cast-because-she’s-hot Jenny McCarthy. Her life has been spent dating a long line of “John Tuckers” and through her daughter’s misguided exploits she realizes it’s time to think a little harder about the men to she dates. Of course, that probably goes way over the heads of the teens watching the film. The lessons aimed at them come at the end when John Tucker realizes that honesty is the best policy. That way his high school exploits in dating multiple girls can evolve from deceitful secrecy to hot, three way action.
The story is tiresome, the comedy is stupid and the characters are shallow, teenage versions of the ladies from "Sex In The City". But who needs a good plot, clever comedy and interesting characters when you’ve got Jesse Metcalf’s hotness for the teen girls to drool and swoon over? Look out Channing Tatum, you’ve got competition. The premise might have worked better in a college setting, where the kinds of confidence the characters exude would have been more believable (not to mention responsible). Instead, John Tucker Must Die is mindless drivel, dipped in drippings from American Pie, and served up with the knowledge that there’s a demographic out there with plenty of money to spend and no common sense on how to spend it well.
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