Reviewed by: Susan Quirk
Why won’t my parents allow me to single-date? Answer
How far is too far? What are the guidelines for dating relationships? Answer
Should I save sex for marriage? Answer
How do I know what is right from wrong? Answer
I’m ugly. Why was God so unfair to me this way? Answer
How can I deal with temptations? Answer
What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer
Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.” Why does Hollywood continue to promote immoral programming? Are YOU part of the problem?
|Featuring:||Jesse Metcalfe, Sophia Bush, Brittany Snow, Ashanti, Arielle Kebbel, Jenny McCarthy|
|Producer:||Karen Lunder, Michael Birnbaum, Bob Cooper|
|Distributor:||20th Century Fox|
John Tucker is a three-timing player with enough charm to woo the entire high school cheer-leading squad. When his current trio—head cheerleader Heather (recording artist Ashanti), academic Carrie (Arielle Kebbel) and Beth (Sophia Bush) discover his cheating ways, a full blown cat fight in the school gym settles into a truce between the girls to plot revenge. Kate (Brittany Snow), the sweet but awkward new girl who has no friends (due her own mother’s dysfunctional habit of dating men and moving away), eagerly joins the force to “kill” John Tucker’s ability to repeat his past indiscretions.
Pranks on John Tucker include scandalous pictures turned into posters portraying John as having various STDs, but instead of ruining John Tuckers reputation, he is given an award for promoting community awareness of STDS, thus elevating his status even further. Another stunt includes drugging John Tucker with estrogen stolen from Heather’s mother which Heather uses believing it will increase her breast size. When drugged, John exhibits stereotypical symptoms of PMS and the stunt backfires as John Tucker is congratulated for exhibiting his sensitive side, adding again to his desirability factor. The main focus of the revenge campaign turns to an attempt to have John Tucker truly fall in love with Kate, and thus have his heart broken.
This movie had the potential to humorously address many of the difficult pressures of self-worth and fitting-in that text-messaging teens and tweens experience. In the beginning of the film, Kate seemed to be someone with a different point of view, less shallow and one who wasn’t going to sell out, at least in the long run. Instead, only a bit character, an ex-cast off of John Tucker who is reduced to tears at the very mention of John Tucker’s name provides the only humorous, yet realistic, view of being used and dumped. In addition, the character of Beth is known as the school slut, but this title is not presented in a necessarily derogatory light, but merely as another shade of her personal makeup.
“John Tucker Must Die” actively promotes the relentless drone of casual, teen sexual experience and an impossible standard of “hotness’ for girls and muscularity and athleticism for boys. The dialog is sprinkled with numerous profanities, including s**t, motherf****er, and countless exclamations of “Oh my God.” The fact that John Tucker has slept with countless girls and with at least two of the girls seeking revenge is presented as a normal part of teen dating. Other negative elements include Beth and Kate sharing an extended practice make-out kiss which is witnessed with delight by an observing teen boy. Jokes of “being in Beth’s pants,” John Tucker preferring girls on top, erections, genital herpes, neutering John Tucker and boys wearing thong underwear are also played for laughs.
For Christian teens desiring to wait for marriage for sex, this movie is in your face with the opposite message. Casual teen sex is presented as so normal that not having sex is not even up for debate. The Bible admonishes, “For, as it is written, ‘The two shall become one flesh.’ But he who is unified to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him. Shun immorality. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body; but the immoral man sins against his own body.” (1 Cor 6:16-20).
Although Kate is initially introduced to the viewer as a “nice” girl she is easily persuaded by the trio of revenge seekers into seducing John Tucker via a video phone, wearing only lingerie. This film is not merely unfeeling and morally ambiguous from a Christian perspective, from an entertainment perspective the fatal flaw of “John Tucker Must Die” is the complete lack of heart the film exhibits. Real friendship is not forged in the union of the revenge seekers as their relationship is built on a faulty premise from the get-go. Getting even is an empty business. Leviticus 19:18 states, “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” The girls don’t grow, learn or become more enlightened as the film moves forward, and the audience is given nothing to empathize with, cheer on, or even laugh at.
The ambiguity of John Tucker’s behavior becomes even murkier as he feigns true affection for Kate but fails to adopt real growth or maturity. The movie continues its downward spiral toward the conclusion that the only fault of John Tucker was his lack of honesty by not revealing his intention of dating and bedding numerous girls at the same time. The lesson seems to be: Shame on those silly girls for putting such an old fashioned moral trip of exclusivity and commitment in a dating relationship! This is not a funny, nor one that makes for a satisfying story about relationships for any age group.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
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