Summer Movies: John Tucker Must Die
July 29, 2006

What an odd summer for movies — I didn’t make it to Superman or Pirates, two films I expected to enjoy but decided to avoid after seeing online reviews and reactions, but I did see and enjoy The Devil Wears Prada (beware — it’s oddly seductive about making you think high fashion is something you should buy) and most recently, John Tucker Must Die.

It’s the story of three girls who, when they find out they’re dating the same guy, decide to take revenge with the aid of a new girl cynical about men because of her divorced mother’s love life (played by Brittany Snow, late of American Dreams).

There are many other odd themes and elements to this film that set it apart from your typical teen movie. For one thing, the three girls — head cheerleader, easy “hippie chick” type, and over-achiever — provide more diversity in female roles than you usually see. For another, they’re shown as hating each other when they’re not focusing on their goal.

The movie was very enjoyable with the exception of the weak ending. I think that may have been a case of just not knowing how to get out of the situation they established while still being plausible, entertaining, and audience-friendly. Also, the trailer gave away most of the high points, as happens too often.

Favorite line: Well, first, the setup. Snow’s character talks about how her mother, whenever she’s dumped by another guy, binges on frosting straight out of the can before packing them up and moving to a new town. She and the other girls during one setback also indulge in a pig-out involving frosting. So, near the end, Snow walks into the kitchen, looks at the counter, and yells, “Mom, there’s frosting on the counter… and there’s a cake under it!”

I also spent the whole film trying to figure out who was playing the younger brother until we saw the credits and realized it was the former lead of The Bedford Diaries (the one who’s not Milo), Penn Badgley.

If you liked Fool’s Gold or Scooter Girl, you should enjoy this movie — there are a lot of similarities.

8 Responses  
Patrick writes:  

Superman was awful. Pirates got an undeserved bad rap; it wasn’t perfect but definitely extremely enjoyable. You should check it out.

Johanna writes:  

I probably still will, perhaps while on vacation next week. Thanks for the recommendation.

seth writes:  

devil wears prada was one of the worst movies i’ve ever been forced to watch.

Johanna writes:  

I really enjoyed it. I knew going in that it was a Cinderella story with a happy ending, but the performances were terrific.

Chris Galdieri writes:  

I wound up enjoying Superman in spite of myself — and possibly in spite of itself as well. The setup and premise of the film is so bizarre that it gave the movie a weird charge than I wasn’t expecting — kind of in line with those Elliot Maggin Superman specials and annuals from the early 80s that focused on Superman as a cosmic messiah or something.

Also, I came out of the theater wishing I could find a pair of reading glasses styled like the ones they put on Clark…

George writes:  

Johanna–IMO, SR and PotC:DMC deserve neither the praise nor the condmenation layered up them; go in with somewhat diminshed expectations, and they each have their charms. SR strikes a number of good emotional notes via the Richard White character, in particular.

But, my friend, I know of your tastes, so I must recommend that you spend your movie time and money on the latest Woody Allen flick: Scoop. It features one of your favorite hunk…uh, actors, in a 90% charming performance. Thank me later.

Johanna writes:  

Chris, that’s an unusual perspective.

George, I almost went to see Scoop today… but I’ve got a tickle in my throat, and I can’t afford to get sick before vacation, so I’m staying in instead. I do want to catch it, because it has Hugh for me and Allen (and maybe Scarlet) for KC. I’m glad to hear it’s worth it.

Ed Sizemore writes:  

Johanna, I would second the Scoop recommendation. I think the only good films Woody Allen is writing these days are his murder mysteries. They have all the wit and charm that his romantic comedies used to have. Recently, his romantic comedies have turned dark and very nihilist. I really like the banter between Woody Allen and Scarlett Johansson in this film.

Another recommendation, with reservation, is Lady in Lake. Paul Giamatti is the heart and soul of this picture. Watch the movie for the transformation of his character alone. The mythology story line was pretty much a throw away for me. What moved me was seeing Giamatti’s character go from a broken man to seeing what it takes to return him to wholeness. Giamatti should get the Oscar for this performance, it really saved the film and gave the film depth and meaning.


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