John Tucker Must Die (2006)

John Tucker Must Die
Director: Betty Thomas
Writer: Jeff Lowell
Cast: Brittany Snow, Ashanti, Sophia Bush, Arielle Kebbel, Jesse Metcalfe, Penn Badgley, Jenny McCarthy, Terrell J. Ramsey, Kevin McNulty, Taylor Kitsch,
Seen on: 1.12.2019

Plot:
Kate (Brittany Snow) is the new girl in school, but just like in her old school, she remains largely invisible to everyone. Things change, though, when she and the girls in question realize that John (Jesse Metcalfe), the most popular guy in school, is dating three girls at the same time. Carrie (Arielle Kebbel) is a driven overachiever, Beth (Sophia Bush) a passionate activist and Heather (Ashanti) is the popular head cheerleader. The three girls don’t usually talk to each other and so John has been able to play them all. Instead of fighting each other for John, though, Kate makes sure that all four of them work together to make John’s life a living hell. But that is easier said than done.

John Tucker Must Die is a fun film with a couple of feminist ideas, but some jokes are more miss than hit and the film ends a little disappointingly.

The film poster showing Carrie (Arielle Kebbel), Kate (Brittany Snow), Beth (Sophia Bush) and Heather (Ashanti) in black and white and a smaller image of John Tucker (Jesse Metcalfe) in color.

I love the concept of John Tucker Must Die: please give me all the movies where the cheated on women band together to take their revenge. Unfortunately, often those films end up disappointing in execution, and John Tucker Must Die is one of them, I’m afraid. There is a very misguided part of the revenge plan where the girls mix estrogen into John’s protein powder. Not only is it a pretty misogynist angle to punish somebody by making them more female (not that more or less estrogen makes anybody actually more or less female, but that’s how the film plays it), John’s reaction to the estrogen includes wondering whether his shorts make his thighs look fat as if it’s the hormone levels that make women afraid of being fat and not a thoroughly fat-hating, misogynist society. Altogether, not a very feminist plot line, nor a funny one. It’s just hateful.

Equally disappointing is that, in the end, John pretty much gets away with everything. Yes, he vows to do better, and yes, there is something to the argument that as long as the girls’ lives revolve around vengeance against John, they still revolve around John, but still. They could have had that epiphany after actually damaging his reputation.

Carrie (Arielle Kebbel), Kate (Brittany Snow), Beth (Sophia Bush) and Heather (Ashanti) walking together.

But then again, we all know that guys’ reputation barely get damaged, no matter how many accusations or how much evidence is presented against them. This goes double for good-looking white guys and triple if they are also rich. So there is some realism to this ending – but realism, I, personally, found completely uncalled for.

Regardless of these things, John Tucker Must Die ist pretty enjoyable. It’s not a cinematic masterpiece, but it is a fun teenage comedy and one that deserves to be remembered a little more than it actually is.

John Tucker (Jesse Metcalfe) confronted by all the girls he is dating.

Summarizing: Entertaining.

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