Monday, April 9, 2012

John Tucker Must Die (2006)

Director: Betty Thomas (1)

Cast: Brittany Snow (2), Jesse Metcalfe (3), Penn Badgley (4), Sophia Bush (5), Arielle Kebbel (6), Ashanti (7)

"It's not you, it's me. You are the girl I want to marry, but right now, I'm too young and I don't wanna be tied down. I want to spread my wings and fly, I want to experience life before I settle down." How many of you (girls) have heard a line like this or some derivative of this line? Well, it happens a lot. And to all kinds of women, and sometimes to men too. I guess when you're in high school or when you can blame your youth for all the stupid things you say and do, this breakup line has been used more than once or twice. You could get mad, or get even with guys (or girls) like this, but would you? Really?

I agree with what the younger Tucker played by Penn Badgley said. Girls know that John Tucker is a player, and yet they still fall head over heels for him. Are they asking for it? Well, I hate to be a bitch, but I think so. If they did not know what he was like in the first place, then yes, I'd say the guy was at fault. But if the girl knew what he was like and still blindly went into a relationship with the guy, then the fault cannot lie solely on the guy isn't it? Maybe they thought he would change for them, or that they were special enough that a player like John Tucker would change for them. Well, the Chinese have a saying: 男人不坏, 女人不愛 (If a man is not a bad boy, the woman would not fall in love with him). And sometimes I agree with the statement. Some women do make it hard on themselves and fall for the bad boy types. 

But still, this is a fun film with a simple and straightforward premise. The cast may not all look at all like high school students, but hey, that's Hollywood for you I guess. The antics are cute if not crude, but it gets the idea across. The acting, well, I think Brittany Snow did more than a decent job playing Kate. She struck a good balance between sweet and innocent vs. sultry and vindictive. The three vindictive masterminds of the 'John Tucker Must Die' operation play their individuals roles well and when the four females get together to plot their evil plans, I do feel like they are kindred spirits pushed together by the fates. Jesse Metcalfe is good looking and he played his character well enough for the story to move along. Although I cringe a little every time he comes onto the screen. There's something about his acting in the film that I didn't quite buy. Playing his younger brother Penn Badgley did not look at all like the younger brother. Or maybe my wires got crossed and Jesse is supposed to be the younger brother. Either way, throughout the film, I heard more than I saw or felt their brotherly relationship, which really isn't good, cos with film, you show not tell. Anyway, I think the brother's did not have any chemistry to speak of. At the very least, the only "successful" relationship in the film, between Brittany and Penn, was done well enough to make their sub-plot believable.

The bottom line is, I enjoyed the film although I feel I wasn't drawn in or invested in the characters in the film.  Which is a pity because John Tucker Must Die could have done better for itself but it fell flat in the end and left me unsatisfied.

(1) Director Betty Thomas has directed films like Dr. Dolittle (1998), 28 Days (2000) and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009)

(2) Brittany Snow has acted in films like The Pacifier (2005), Hairspray (2007), Finding Amanda (2008), Pitch Perfect (2012), 2and Syrup (2013). She also played Margaret "Meg" Pryor in the television series American Dreams (2002-2005) and has guest starred in series like Nip/Tuck, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Gossip Girl, Mad Love, and Ben & Kate. 

(3) Jesse Metcalfe has acted in the television series Desperate Housewives (2004-2009)

(4) Penn Badgley has acted in films like The Stepfather (2009) and Easy A (2010), but he's known for his role as Daniel "Dan" Humphrey in Gossip Girl (2007-Present)

(5) Sophia Bush has acted in films like Van Wilder (2002) and Chalet Girl (2011), but she is known for her role as Brooke Davis Baker in One Tree Hill (2003-2012)

(6) Arielle Kebbel has acted in films like American Pie Presents: Band Camp (2005), Dirty Deeds (2005), Aquamarine (2006)Vampires Suck! (2010), and Think Like A Man (2012). She has also guest starred in shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Gilmore Girls, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Entourage, CSI: Miami, The Vampire Diaries, True Blood, Life Unexpected, 90210, and Hawaii Five-0. 

(7) Ashanti  is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, dancer, actress, and model who has acted in films like Coach Carter (2005) and had a cameo appearance in the film Bride and Prejudice (2004)

The Eclectic Reviewer thinks… John Tucker Must Die is a film with a lot of fun, but without much heart. It has the potential to send a strong message that revenge is not healthy for the soul, but doesn't quite deliver the goods. It tries to send a positive message of what true friendship should be about but it doesn't get much airtime to do a proper job of that. (2.5 of 5)

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