In fact the movie’s most valuable assets is that it never takes itself too seriously, and never does more than skate along the surface. This kind of superficiality would normally be a drawback, but here it becomes an advantage. Since there are no real consequences on the horizon, no heavy messages waiting in the wings, we can relax and enjoy the fluffy, sugary nonsense being served up. Both Thomas and the cast have particular fun with the elaborate revenge sequences which are far more goofy than they are truly mean.
The script by first-timer Jeff Lowell deserves some credit. Granted, on a macro scale Lowell has done little more than tack a cute premise onto a pile of recycled high-school-movie garbage, but it’s at the micro level that Lowell really excels. The movie is full of the kind of inane but snappy banter that teen movies thrive on, as well as marvelously quirky little details that add to the dumb-but-fun atmousphere.
As far as the acting (or lack thereof) goes, the cast are mainly there to look pretty and confident, and perhaps spit out a few wisecracks. Oh, they’re all as loveable and charming as can be, with Jesse Metcalfe (the hot gardener from Desperate Housewives) leading the charge, but not one of them can act worth a damn. The engaging lead, Brittany Snow, has some potential, if only she’d spend less time on putting on the goo-goo eyes and more on actually acting.
Is John Tucker Must Die going to reach deep into your soul, touch your heart, or even teach you something interesting? Not bloody likely! Is it going to tickle you for 90 minutes and then leave you giggling and without the feeling of being cheated out of R40? Most assuredly. It’s this year’s Mean Girls and fans of the genre shouldn’t miss it for the world.
- Alistair Fairweather
John Tucker Must Die may be dumb, but there's something deeply satisfying about watching the school stud get the punishment he deserves.
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