John Tucker Must Die
Getting worked up over John Tucker Must Die (2006) is a bit like getting worked up over the taste of flan. This comedy about four high-school girls getting revenge on a triple-timing jock (Jesse Metcalfe) strikes the poses of a teen sex comedy, but it contains no sex and hardly any comedy. It's probably too saucy for middle-schoolers, and it's definitely too dopey for high-schoolers. It wastes a solid premise, toothsome actors, and a great title. (John Tucker doesn't even come close to dying, except maybe of shame.) Well, okay. There is one thing to get worked up over: The movie has an unbelievable knack for showing you glimpses of the other, more interesting movies it could be, but isn't. For example:
Of course, none of these dangling threads (and these are just a few of many) really matter, because John Tucker Must Die has a deeper problem: It isn't very funny. The cast is charming, especially Metcalfe, who almost makes you root for Tucker as he turns every prank the girls play on him into an opportunity to meet more women. But Jeff Lowell's script makes all the easy choices rarely telling jokes that rise above slutty puns, cute-girl pratfalls, and Tucker going all stereotypically weepy when the girls spike his protein powder with estrogen. It leaves director Betty Thomas (who helmed the brilliant Brady Bunch Movie over a decade ago) without a story, or characters, worth fighting over. Fox's DVD release of John Tucker Must Die features both anamorphic (1.85:1) and full-frame transfers on opposite sides of the disc with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Both theatrical and "unrated" versions are offered from the initial menu, while extras include a commentary from director Betty Thomas and editor Matthew Friedman and three featurettes, "Grrl Power" (4 min.), "Cutting Class with Jesse Metcalfe" (3 min.), and "Kodiak Yearbook" (3 min.). Keep-case.