Friday, August 31, 2012

John Tucker Must Die Movie Review

Even as a teenager, I don’t remember enjoying teen movies all that much. They tend to be very formulaic, have the same cast of characters, and more or less similar stories. I don’t even remember what made me think John Tucker Must Die (2006) would be different, or even good. The only off the wall thing they did was have the happy fat friend and the token black guy end up being the same character. Genius!
Kate (Brittany Snow) is the new girl in school yet again. She quickly learns about John Tucker (Jesse Metcalfe), the insanely attractive, highly popular captain of the basketball team. Kate catches John Tucker dating three different girls at once: Carrie (Arielle Kebbel), the smart girl; Heather (Ashanti), the head cheerleader; and Beth (Sophia Bush), the vegan activist. None of them are aware that they are not the only girl in John’s heart. Kate was raised by a single mother and has never seen a functional relationship. She has seen the pain caused by playboys like John Tucker, and she won’t stand idly by. Together with the three girlfriends, they hatch a plan to teach John a lesson. Of course, things rarely go as planned, especially when Kate starts to think she might be falling for John herself.
Just based on the description there, you can probably figure out the entire story this movie has to offer. It wasn’t all that innovative a movie. It didn’t even present the same old thing in a new or interesting way. There are still social cliques and cheerleaders, there are still horny teenage boys bent on losing their virginity, social outcasts who fall in love with the jock, and the token black guy who stays out of every conversation, smiles, and interjects with colloquialisms that perpetuate racial stereotypes.
I have to admit, I did find a few parts of the movie funny. It is intended to be a comedy, after all. One of the funnier scenes early on is when the girls switch out John Tucker’s muscle building supplements with estrogen supplements. This causes the manly basketball team captain to have an emotional breakdown and start crying when the coach is barking orders during a big game. This was funny in spite of perpetuating gender roles and stereotyping. And just like all the other stunts the girls try to pull off, it backfires by having girls flocking to John Tucker because he’s a man that can show his sensitive side. Most of the humor is like this; pretty shallow, unbelievable, and gives an unrealistic view of human behavior. I can forgive it because it’s supposed to be a comedy, but it is still hard to accept scenarios like these. You might chuckle a few times if at all.
Lame as the story and script is, I have to give respect to the actors. Their performance seemed loose and relaxed. When they are trying to act casual, they actually appear to act casual. They don’t have a forced presentation, nor were they yelling their lines into the camera so they can be heard over all the chatter and texting the teenage audience will inevitably be participating in during the movie.
Brittany Snow also played Amber Von Tussle in the 2007 Hairspray movie. She looks really pretty in both Hairspray and John Tucker Must Die. I don’t understand why pretty and attractive people are frequently cast as the socially awkward and outcast roles. Inevitably they will have this profound moment of awakening and transform themselves from being nerdy and un-cool to being confident, attractive, and on top of the social scene. Newsflash to any high-school-aged readers; THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE! Sorry you had to learn that this way, but these stupid teen movies really give us an unrealistic view of high school and of life. At any rate, pretty and attractive as Brittany Snow is as Kate, I have a hard time imagining her ever being unaccepted or being in need of a date.
John Tucker Must Die is a classic example of a light-hearted teen movie, but it wasn’t really a terrible teen movie. It’s not as mean as Mean Girls, not as crude or raunchy as American Pie, and not as cheesy as something like A Walk to Remember. I had a few chuckles and the acting was a bit better than most teen movies. I suppose it’s a subpar movie, but an above average teen movie. If you have graduated from high school long enough to have experience in the real world, you’ll find the unrealistic depiction of high school to be quaint and silly. You might find something to laugh at if you’ve ever had a two-timing relationship partner. I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to see this unless you really like silly teen movies.

What’s your favorite teen/high school movie? Am I missing out on any good ones? Comment below and tell me all about it!

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