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JOHN TUCKER MUST DIE

SYNOPSIS:
Basketball team captain John Tucker (Jesse Metcalfe) is the school stud, with girls queuing up for a date. When the head of three high school cliques get together and compare notes, they realize their Casanova is surreptitiously dating all of them at the same time. Wannabe-reporter Carrie (Arielle Kebbel), head cheerleader Heather (Ashanti) and vegan activist Beth (Sophia Bush) are as mad as hell and are not going to take it any more. They decide to get even and make the self-assured, smooth-talker, 'un-datable'. Their tactic? To recruit new girl Kate (Brittany Snow) to break John's heart. Even though she is attracted to her chemistry partner, who happens to be John's brother Scott (Penn Badgley).

Review by Louise Keller:
There's plenty of life in this breezy teen comedy, in which ego is the only thing in dire jeopardy. Buoyed by its good looking cast and entertaining script, John Tucker Must Die is witty and funny, as it reminds us that it is cool to be yourself - whoever you are. Bounding from his role as Desperate Housewives gardener-cum-toyboy, Jesse Metcalfe makes an impressive feature debut as the philandering charmer with the silver tongue, flexing his well-formed pecs. Never mind that the plot is somewhat predictable as three gorgeous girls pool their dating experiences to payback their duplicitous boyfriend, the execution is infused with charm and humour.

In the mould of Mean Girls, this trio is more likeable, as they set the heartbreak timeline, and tactics are devised. Out come the claws and the jugular is targeted. Firstly, there's an assault on John's reputation that involves an out of context photograph. Then his masculinity is compromised when oestrogen powder is mercilessly added to his sports drink. The tantrums and fat-phobia that follows on the basketball court bring a chuckle. But amazingly, this 1.8 metres stud manages to turn every hurdle to his advantage. And that includes the red thong with white lace trim he is bullied into wearing for a late night liaison. Play hard to get, then assume control, is the advice the girls give to Brittany Snow's innocent Kate, adding kissing instructions, a boob cam and timing techniques for on perfect score results. Snow (reminiscent of Jennifer Aniston) has plenty of appeal as the new girl, who has felt invisible all her life - until now.

Director Betty Thomas keeps the tone playful, and I can still see Carrie (Arielle Kebel), Heather (Ashanti) and Beth (Sophia Bush) flapping arms frantically as their dinghy falls apart in the scene while keeping a close watch on John and Kate's romantic evening on a yacht. Everything leads to confessions and cream fights and all's well that ends well with the resolutions staying real. Or as real as you could hope for in a high school filled with pretty girls and where study does not seem to feature on the curriculum.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

JOHN TUCKER MUST DIE (PG)
(US, 2006)

CAST: Jesse Metcalfe, Brittany Snow, Ashanti, Sophia Bush, Arielle Kebbel, Penn Badgley, Jenny McCarthy, Fatso-Fasano

PRODUCER: Michael Birnbaum, Bob Cooper, Karen Lunder

DIRECTOR: Betty Thomas

SCRIPT: Jeff Lowell

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Anthony B. Richmond

EDITOR: Matt Friedman

MUSIC: Richard Gibbs

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Marcia Hinds

RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 7, 2006







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