Making the Grades
This is a story about revenge involving three high school princesses -- Heather (Ashanti), Beth (Sophia Bush) and Carrie (Arielle Kebbel) -- who discover they are all dating and sacking up with the same prince (Jesse Metcalfe). After their common interest is revealed during phys-ed class, the teens are ready to physically rip each other apart. Fortunately, newcomer Kate (Brittany Snow) has observed plenty of playboys, thanks to her upbringing by a constantly man-hunting single mother. When she points out the misdirection of their passions, the women scorned decide... John Tucker must die... or at least taught a good lesson.
Seeing Kate (who is usually invisible amongst the high school crowd) for the first time, the trio recognizes she has the potential to be perfect boy bait. Determined to have John receive a taste of his own three-timing ways, Heather, Beth and Carrie train their new recruit on some basic principles (requiring a practice kiss between two females) that will allow her to gain the hot jock's affections and then drop him like an even hotter potato. With a wealth of high tech equipment (which every high school surely comes equipped with), the gang is ready to monitor and coach Kate through the entire catch and release scenario. Of course, they just don't count on her falling in love.
Mixing the worst from movies like Mean Girls and She's All That>, this poorly conceived plot doesn't even manage to create characters that are truly bad. Instead, you find yourself pitying these girls for not simply getting on with their lives and letting this John run his course. If this were reality, outcomes like sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies would eventually supply the "justice" they are looking for. But, like so many movies, the irresponsible sexual behavior portrayed by these students is never addressed. Ignoring such heavy stuff, the screenplay instead wanders into a secondary romance between Kate and John's younger brother to provide a consequence-free sloppy ending.
Although none of the characters in this film look anywhere close to the age of the seniors they represent, they do attempt to make a positive cynical statement about peer pressure and the importance of "being yourself." These ethics are most clearly illustrated during one of the movie's few funny moments when the baseball team and even the teaching staff all start wearing women's thongs after the trend-setting John gets caught in one.
While the uttered threats never amount to murderous intentions, the empowerment theme tends to focus more on self-interests than self-improvements. Even with the tacked on morals in the closing moments, parents will need to carefully consider if they want John Tucker's example to live or die for their family.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about John Tucker Must Die.
Do you think any of the three girls who dated John did so because they truly liked him? Or were they more “in love” with what he represented? Do you think a healthy relationship can develop if one or each person basis their affection on image and style?
Why is revenge a dangerous game to play? Does it offer a long-term solution to a problem? When have vengeful acts in a high school environment turned into a serious situation? Are adults also prone to this emotional reaction?
An obese boy in this movie is often seen eating and being flatulent. How do stereotypes like these undermine certain types of people in reality?