out of Five
Running time: 93
Not quite in the league of Mean Girls but this is still an enjoyably silly teen revenge comedy with strong performances and a witty, likeable script.
What's it all about?
Jesse Metcalfe (from Desperate Housewives) stars as John Tucker, a high school lothario who dates girls from different cliques so they don't find out about each other. However, when three of his simultaneous girlfriends (brainy over-achiever Arielle Kebbel, sassy cheerleader Ashanti and slutty vegan activist Sophia Bush) find out they decide to get their revenge on John and publicly humiliate him.
The girls' scheme involves doing a makeover on overlooked new girl Kate (Brittany Snow) so that John will fall in love with her and she can then break his heart. However, the plan backfires when Kate (from whose perspective the story is told) finds herself falling for John, which in turn jeopardises her burgeoning relationship with John's cute younger brother Scott (Penn Badgley).
This isn't as dark, as witty or as inventive as Mean Girls or Heathers (its two obvious inspirations) but it has an attractive cast and some genuinely funny moments. Metcalfe gamely sends up his frequently shirtless hunk du jour image and, crucially, ensures that Tucker remains sympathetic, despite his womanising ways.
Snow is a real find; she's extremely cute and has superb comic timing. Here's hoping her career really takes off after this. Kebbel and Ashanti are good too, but Sophia Bush steals the film because her character gets all the best lines.
The only real problem with John Tucker Must Die is that supposedly invisible Kate is attractive and funny in her own right, so you can't quite believe John wouldn't have noticed her. Similarly, all the girls really do in the makeover is to straighten her hair and make her a cheerleader.
This is an enjoyable comedy with attractive performances but it might have been more fun if it had been as dark as its title suggests.
John Tucker Must Die (12A)