Review: “John Tucker Must Die”

An effervescently light high school comedy, ‘Tucker’ proves a more enjoyable little movie than its ads promise thanks to it’s comfortably mean spirit of revenge that pervades throughout. Thanks to Betty Thomas’ sure hand of direction and a mostly solid cast (even Jenny McCarthy for once proves decent), the film is able to mine laughs pretty quickly out of cliched stuff, and moves fast and comfortably into its interesting premise.

Jokes about lesbian smooching and Jesse Metcalfe wearing a thong (a rather nice sight indeed) sound trite, but the film is able to keep re-mining the premise by making this ‘cock of the walk’ turn each of the attempted injuries against him into a strength. Metcalfe is hardly the most compelling actor out there in his age range, yet the impeccably groomed actor does alright as he’s handling material that never really challenges him.

Snow is a decent lead, a little too featherweight for the most part which makes her makeover maturity somewhat cloy and not particularly engaging. Yet she has a nice chemistry with Tucker’s more pensive sibling (the cute and offbeat Badgley) and works well as the organiser of the more colourful Tucker-exes. Ashanti as a sass talking cheerleader and Bush especially as the free-spirited but slutty vegan bring a nice touch of daring and energy to their parts which make the revenge scenes more satisfying.

‘Tucker’ also drops the ball in the last act. The final 25 minutes, including the big finale, drop the nastier laughs in favour of a more sweet and far too easy ending which feels like a cheat at best, a betrayal at worst. Had it mined edgier territory and stuck to its guns, it would’ve proven a more engaging vehicle than the mild laugher we have here.