John Tucker Must Die is a 2006 teen comedy film directed by Betty Thomas. The film is about a trio of teenage girls who plot to break the heart of school basketball star John Tucker after they learn he has been secretly dating all three and pledging each is "the one". They recruit a shy, unpopular girl in their scheme to publicly humiliate him.

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
Starring
CinematographyAnthony B. Richmond
Edited byMatt Friedman
Music byRichard Gibbs
Production
companies
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
Canada
LanguageEnglish
Budget$18 million[1]
Box office$68.8 million[1]

The story is loosely based on William Shakespeare's "The Merry Wives of Windsor."[2][3] Released in North America on July 28, 2006, the film made $68 million worldwide to generally mixed to negative reviews.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11]

Plot

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Teenager Kate Spencer lives with her single mother, Lori, near Portland, Oregon, where Kate works as a waitress. While at work, Kate sees popular local boy John Tucker on dates with three different girls: chronic overachiever Carrie, head cheerleader Heather, and promiscuous liberal vegan activist Beth. She learns from a co-worker that he dates girls from different cliques at his school so that they never interact. John convinces the girls to keep their relationships secret by claiming he is forbidden to date during basketball season.

The three girls learn about John's scheme after ending up on the same volleyball team in gym class. They meet Kate in detention, and after discovering she's able to see through him, the girls enlist her help in seeking revenge against John.

Meanwhile, Kate becomes friends with John's brother Scott. The girls make several attempts to bring John down, but these initial pranks backfire. He breaks up with all three girls, and they agree that breaking his heart is the ideal revenge. They enlist Kate to be the heartbreaker.

After a makeover, Kate joins the cheerleading squad to get John's attention. He tries to flirt with her, but she dismisses him. John is dismayed that a girl is impervious to his charms, and becomes determined to win her affections. He relentlessly chases after Kate, even driving by her house, much to the girls' amusement as they watch him fall for her.

After a few dates, Beth notices that Kate is falling for John. To counteract this, Carrie secretly videotapes John bragging to his friends in the locker room, saying he will be "scoring more than baskets" at the upcoming away game. Upon seeing his chauvinistic behavior, Kate recommits to the plan.

At a hotel on the night of the away game, Kate seduces John on a video-chat, instructing him to put on a lacy pair of girl's thong panties 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 wearing the thong panties improves his game. Meanwhile, Kate's mother and Scott both discover the plan and lament the change in Kate's behavior.

Kate tells John that she heard about what he said in the locker room. He 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, 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 in front of a devastated John.

Heather, Beth, and Carrie defend Kate after a guest throws his drink at her. Still, John appears unfazed, and the party devolves into a cake fight. A few days later, he and Kate agree to be friends, and he resolves to be honest. Scott, happy that Kate confessed, becomes her lab partner again, and it is hinted they will begin dating.

Cast

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Reception

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Box office

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The film premiered at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, with Betty Thomas and Arielle Kebbel in attendance.[12] 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.[13] The opening weekend 3rd place rank was at the high-end of studio expectations.[14] The film was heavily promoted to female teenagers on Myspace,[15] and the studio believed this campaign was successful, as the opening weekend audience was 75% female and 68% under 25.[14]

Critical response

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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."[4] On Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 41 out of 100, based on 27 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[5] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[6]

Angel Cohn of TV Guide gave the film a three stars rating out of four, writing that the 19 to 27 year old age range of the six 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."[7]

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."[8]

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 "...is notably better than the rest of the cast." Medved concedes that his 17-year-old daughter was more the target demographic and that she liked the film enough to want to watch it again.[9] 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."[10]

Jenny McCarthy's performance in the film earned her a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Supporting Actress.[11]

Music

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From 6 April 2006 to 24 April 2006, unsigned artists were allowed to submit their music for an online contest on MySpace called The John Tucker Must Die Undiscovered Band Contest. The winning band's song was eligible for inclusion in the movie and on the soundtrack. From these initial submissions, 20 semi-finalists were chosen by members of the MySpace staff. On 1 May 2006, those 20 bands relied on the support of their own fan bases, or MySpace 'friends,' to determine the top 10 finalists who were selected on 19 May 2006. The grand prize winner was chosen on 26 May 2006 by a panel of celebrity judges and music executives.[16] Texas pop/punk band Rockett Queen's song "Next Big Thing" was chosen as the grand prize winner.[17]

The John Tucker Must Die Undiscovered Band Contest was hosted by Stefy Rae of the band Stefy. Stefy's Wind-up Records debut was released on 29 August 2006. Two songs from the female-fronted band Stefy were featured in the film as well as songs from The All-American Rejects, Nada Surf, Ben Lee, OK Go, People in Planes, and Motion City Soundtrack, among others.

Track listing

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  1. The All-American Rejects – "Dirty Little Secret"
  2. Cartel – "Honestly"
  3. Stefy – "Chelsea"
  4. Rock Kills Kid – "Hope Song"
  5. People in Planes – "Instantly Gratified"
  6. Motion City Soundtrack – "Better Open the Door"
  7. Quietdrive – "Time After Time"
  8. Stefy – "Fool for Love"
  9. OK Go – "This Will Be Our Year"
  10. Nada Surf – "I Like What You Say"
  11. Ben Lee – "Float On"
  12. Josh Kelley – "Sunset Lover"
  13. Caesars – "We Got to Leave"
  14. Rockett Queen – "The Next Big Thing"
  15. Hudson – "Not Giving Up"
  16. Taxi Doll – "Waiting"

Home media

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The DVD was released on November 14, 2006.[18] A Blu-ray Disc version was released on January 10, 2012.[19] Both releases contain theatrical and extended versions of the film as well as a director's commentary, deleted scenes and featurettes.

Sequel

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In March 2024, Metcalfe claimed a script had been written for a sequel and it was "circulating" Hollywood, stating he had yet to read it but would like to be in the film.[20] A few days later during a panel at Epic Cons Chicago, Metcalfe, Bush and Kebbel claimed the existence of the script and revealed that it involved all of the original cast.[21]

References

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  1. ^ a b "John Tucker Must Die (2006)". Box Office Mojo.
  2. ^ Jennings, Collier (2023-04-14). "Wait — 'John Tucker Must Die' Is Actually a Shakespearean Adaptation?". Collider. Retrieved 2023-11-10.
  3. ^ Flint, Hanna. "How teen movies became hooked on classic literature". www.bbc.com. Retrieved 2023-11-10.
  4. ^ a b "John Tucker Must Die (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved April 11, 2021.
  5. ^ a b "John Tucker Must Die reviews". Metacritic. CNET Networks. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  6. ^ a b "Cinemascore Title Search". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on 2018-12-20. Retrieved 2019-04-28.
  7. ^ a b Cohn, Angel (July 28, 2006). "John Tucker Must Die: Review". TV Guide. Archived from the original on March 15, 2012. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  8. ^ a b Catsoulis, Jeannette (July 28, 2006). "John Tucker Must Die". The New York Times. Retrieved December 31, 2010.
  9. ^ a b Medved, Michael. "John Tucker Must Die". Archived from the original on August 4, 2006. Retrieved February 7, 2020. (Note: Click on "READ MORE" to expand the full text of the review.)
  10. ^ a b Berardinelli. "John Tucker Must Die - Reelviews Movie Reviews". Reelviews Movie Reviews.
  11. ^ a b "RAZZIE's Worst Award Nominees of 2006 Released". Movieweb. January 22, 2007. Retrieved April 27, 2022.
  12. ^ "'Tucker' finds life in H'w'd – Variety". Archived from the original on 2019-04-30.
  13. ^ "John Tucker Must Die". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ "John Tucker Must MySpace".
  16. ^ "Wind-up Records, 20th Century Fox and MySpace.com, Announce Undiscovered Band Contest for Upcoming Feature Film "JOHN TUCKER MUST DIE"". Market Wire. 5 April 2006.
  17. ^ "Wind-Up Records, 20th Century Fox and MySpace Announce Rockett Queen as the Winner of the JOHN TUCKER MUST DIE Undiscovered Band Contest". PR Newswire US. 8 June 2006.
  18. ^ Bacharach, Phil (November 14, 2006). "John Tucker Must Die : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Dvdtalk.com. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
  19. ^ "John Tucker Must Die Blu-ray (Unrated + Theatrical)". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved 25 March 2024.
  20. ^ Chapman, Rachel (March 19, 2024). "Jesse Metcalfe Says There's A Script For John Tucker Must Die 2". Elite Daily. Retrieved March 22, 2024.
  21. ^ Degrazia, Leah (March 25, 2024). "John Tucker Must Die Stars Confirm Sequel Is in the Works 18 Years Later". E! Online. Retrieved March 25, 2024.
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