More like ‘Yawn Tucker’

“John Tucker Must Die”

20th Century Fox

Directed by Betty Thomas

Written by Jeff Lowell

Starring: Jesse Metcalfe, Brittany Snow, Ashanti, Sophia Bush, Arielle Kebbel and Jenny McCarthy

Rated PG-13/87 minutes

Opened July 28, 2006

One-and-a-half out of four stars

Does John Tucker really deserve to die, as the title of his movie so bitingly insists? He’s a dishonest, nookie-craving jock who is king of his high school-and with those chiseled pecks, possibly a Greek god in a former life, too. But he’s not so over-the-top vain or despicable to loathe as a villain, and he’s too smarmy to sympathize with in a tragic sort of way.

He’s just?a shallow jock.

Of course, the girls he’s cheated on in “John Tucker Must Die” don’t really want him to die-no, that would require a script with more fangs, nails and dark humor, which this one only hints at before pulling back into sunny, PG-13-rated territory. Instead of “Mean Girls,” we get “Really Angry Girls Who are Safely Within Legal Methods of Revenge.”


Brittany Snow is cuter than a pail full of kittens as Kate, the new girl at school who is smart and sincere and, therefore, outcast. I take comfort in knowing that she will grow up to lead a meaningful, interesting life while someone like Beth (Sophia Bush)-a promiscuous vegan who will eat meat only if it’s named John Tucker-will work at Starbucks until she’s 60.

Along with head cheerleader Heather (Ashanti) and honor society babe Carrie (Arielle Kebble), Beth is one of many girls whom John Tucker (Jessie Metcalfe) has bed-and-fled. They decide to get even by making him fall in love with Kate, only to have Kate dump him at his big birthday bash (the kind of grandiose, MTV-sponsored celebration that only movie characters throw).

Stories centered on bets and dares and deceptions make me want to pull out my hair because they require smart people to act like idiots for the plot to move forward. Perhaps if the script by Jeff Lowell had been nasty enough, the movie would have been a guilty pleasure. Instead, it’s just teenybopper fluff. Director Betty Thomas (a “Sex and the City” vet far from her glory days) brings out relaxed performances from her cast of undeniably hot performers who have little to do other than look hot.

Oh, and Jenny McCarthy gives out sage advice as Kate’s mom. I don’t even want to touch what’s wrong with that.

John Tucker doesn’t deserve to die, but this movie deserves to sink into a bubbling tar pit of obscurity.

“Oh, you. Adonis doesn’t require a shirt.” Jesse Metcalfe thinks he’s hotter than he is in “John Tucker Must Die.”