John Tucker Must Die

John Tucker Must Die is a 2006 American teen romantic comedy film directed by Betty Thomas. The film is about a trio of girls who plot to break the heart of manipulative basketball star John Tucker after they learn he has been secretly dating all three and pledging each is "the one". They recruit cute wallflower Kate in their scheme to publicly humiliate the main male lead. Released in North America on July 28, 2006, the film made $68 million worldwide.

John Tucker Must Die
A woman in a white tank top and bikini bottoms, with a lower back tattoo, which reads "John Tucker Must Die". Her right hand is behind her back, index finger pointing and others curled as if making a gun gesture.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBetty Thomas
Written byJeff Lowell
Produced byBob Cooper
Michael Birnbaum
CinematographyAnthony B. Richmond
Edited byMatt Friedman
Music byRichard Gibbs
Landscape Productions
Dune Entertainment
Major Studio Partners
John US Productions
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • July 28, 2006 (2006-07-28)
Running time
89 minutes
CountriesUnited States
Budget$18 million[1]
Box office$68.8 million[1]


Kate Spencer is a teenage girl who lives with her single mother, Lori, whose poor taste in men causes them to move around frequently. Kate and her mother move to a suburb of Portland, Oregon, where Kate gets a job as a waitress. While at work, she sees popular local boy John Tucker on dates with three different girls: chronic overachiever Carrie, head cheerleader Heather, and promiscuous and liberal vegan activist Beth. Kate learns from a co-worker that John dates girls from different cliques at his school so that they never interact. John convinces the girls to keep their relationships secret by claiming his father forbids him to date during basketball season.

One day in gym class, Kate, Carrie, Heather, and Beth end up on the same team for a volleyball game. During the game, Carrie brags about her secret relationship with John Tucker, and the girls learn about his scheme. Carrie, Heather and Beth begin fighting. Kate tries to intervene, only to get all four of them sent to detention. Later that evening, the girls enlist Kate's help in seeking revenge against John. Meanwhile, Kate becomes friends with John's brother Scott, better known as "The Other Tucker".

The girls make several attempts to bring John down, including a PSA campaign claiming he has genital herpes and mixing estrogen into his protein powder, but these initial pranks backfire as John manages to use them to his advantage. John breaks up with all three girls, and they agree that breaking his heart is the ideal revenge. They enlist Kate to be the heartbreaker.

Armed with the girls' advice on how to impress John and a fresh makeover, Kate joins the cheerleading squad to get John's attention. He immediately notices her and tries to flirt with her, but Kate dismisses him. John is dismayed that a girl is impervious to his charms, being shy, and becomes determined to win her affections.

John invites Kate on a date to a bonfire at the beach, while Carrie, Heather, and Beth keep an eye on things using a surveillance camera hidden in Kate's bra. Kate is unprepared after John offers to drive her home, and Beth intervenes to teach her how to kiss. John arrives, forcing Beth to hide in the back of his Land Rover. At her house, Kate buys Beth time to escape by kissing John, but Beth's skirt gets caught in the car door and ripped off in the process. John relentlessly chases after Kate, even driving by her house, much to the girls' amusement as they watch him fall for her.

The next date is a romantic boat ride, and Kate and John have a good time together. Beth later notices that Kate is falling for John. To counteract this, Carrie secretly videotapes John bragging to his friends in the locker room, saying he'll be scoring "more than baskets" at the upcoming away game. Upon seeing John's chauvinistic behavior, Kate snaps out of it and recommits to the plan.

The girls try another plan to embarrass John at a hotel on the night of the away game. Kate seduces John on a video-chat, instructing him to put on a lacy thong and climb out of his room and into hers. He mistakenly climbs into a teacher's room instead, and becomes the laughingstock of the school. John again uses this to his advantage, convincing the boys on his team that the thong is a fashion statement that improves his game. Meanwhile, Kate's mother and Scott both discover the plan and lament the change in Kate's behavior.

Afterward, Kate tells John that she heard about what he said in the locker room. John makes amends by giving her his watch and asking her to be his girlfriend. Kate tells Heather, Carrie, and Beth that she wants to be out of the plan, as whether they are dating or plotting to destroy John Tucker, it is still all about him. At John's birthday, the tape the girls made of John's destruction is played, and Kate reveals the entire plot as John is devastated.

Heather, Beth, and Carrie defend her after a guest throws his drink at Kate. Still, John Tucker becomes unfazed, and the party devolves into a cake fight. A few days later, John and Kate agree to be friends, and John resolves to be honest. Scott, happy that Kate confessed, becomes her lab partner again, and it is hinted the two will begin dating. Kate is now good friends with Beth, Carrie, and Heather. Kate finishes saying, "as for the girl who made John Tucker fall in love, well, she's a legend".

After the credits, Kate warns viewers at home wanting to try this that destroying a man has consequences, and the camera pans to several male teachers bending over to grab some papers, all wearing thongs.



Box officeEdit

The film premiered at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, with Betty Thomas and Arielle Kebbel in attendance.[2] In its opening weekend, the film grossed a total of $14.3 million, ranking third in the box office results for that weekend. The film went on to gross $41.9 million in the United States and Canada, and a total of $68.8 million worldwide.[3] The opening weekend 3rd place rank was at the high-end of studio expectations.[4] The film was heavily promoted to female teenagers on Myspace,[5] and the studio believed this campaign was successful, as the opening weekend audience was 75% female and 68% under 25.[4]

Critical responseEdit

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 27% based on 95 reviews, with an average rating of 4.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "This derivative teen comedy tries to go for cute when it could use more bite."[6] On Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 41 out of 100, based on 27 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[7] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[8]

Angel Cohn from TV Guide gave the film a three stars rating out of four, making the usual criticism of teen movies that the 19 to 27 year old age range of the six young leads meant that "not one member of this teen picture's cast appears remotely young enough to be in high school", though adding that "veteran director Betty Thomas' light revenge comedy is surprisingly entertaining, if less than original." Cohn concluded, "Teen comedies are notoriously predictable, and screenwriter Jeff Lowell isn't out to rock the genre boat, but his smartly written dialogue and the infectious charm of the cast, particularly Snow and Metcalfe, add up to a winning combination."[9]

Jeannette Catsoulis of the New York Times wrote that the film is "unforgivably clueless about teen culture" and "can't even sustain the courage of its girl-power convictions." Catsoulis was also critical of Metcalfe's "unconvincing" performance, writing that he musters "fewer expressions than a Botox infomercial."[10]

Michael Medved gave John Tucker Must Die two stars out of four, calling it "slick, stupid and slightly sleazy," and that at the half-way mark, the plot collapses. He praised Jenny McCarthy, in a supporting role, saying she " notably better than the rest of the cast." Medved concedes that his seventeen-year-old daughter was more the target demographic and that she liked the film enough to want to watch it again.[11]James Berardinelli of ReelViews also disliked the film. He gave it 1.5 stars out of 4, saying "The gulf is vast between what the studio wants us to think John Tucker Must Die is and what it really is. The marketers and publicists would have us believe this is a dark, edgy teen comedy about a band of two-timed girls taking revenge on the school's biggest hunk. Unfortunately, Betty Thomas' film is neither dark nor edgy (although it occasionally tries masquerading in those categories), nor is it particularly funny." He goes on to mention "The movie may be able to bamboozle a few teen female fans into multiplexes, but it's hard to imagine any of them – even those who swoon at the sight of Jesse Metcalfe – labeling this as better than forgettable. And for anyone outside that demographic unfortunate enough to endure John Tucker Must Die, the memory will be too painful to fade quickly."[12]

Jenny McCarthy's performance in the film earned her a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Supporting Actress.[citation needed]


Home mediaEdit

The DVD was released on November 14, 2006.[13]


  1. ^ a b "John Tucker Must Die (2006)". Box Office Mojo.
  2. ^ "'Tucker' finds life in H'w'd – Variety". Archived from the original on 2019-04-30.
  3. ^ "John Tucker Must Die". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Josh Friedman. "'Miami Vice' Arrests 'Pirates' at Weekend Box Office". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2019-04-28. Retrieved 2019-04-28.
  5. ^ "John Tucker Must MySpace".
  6. ^ "John Tucker Must Die (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved April 11, 2021.
  7. ^ "John Tucker Must Die reviews". Metacritic. CNET Networks. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  8. ^ "Cinemascore Title Search". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on 2018-12-20. Retrieved 2019-04-28.
  9. ^ Cohn, Angel (July 28, 2006). "John Tucker Must Die: Review". TV Guide. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  10. ^ Catsoulis, Jeannette (July 28, 2006). "John Tucker Must Die". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
  11. ^ Michael Medved. "John Tucker Must Die". Archived from the original on 2006-08-04. Retrieved 2020-02-07. (Note: Click on "READ MORE" to expand the full text of the review.)
  12. ^ James Berardinelli. "John Tucker Must Die - Reelviews Movie Reviews". Reelviews Movie Reviews.
  13. ^ Phil Bacharach (2006-11-14). "John Tucker Must Die : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Retrieved 2012-08-14.

External linksEdit