Australian Council on Children and the Media

John Tucker Must Die

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Short takes

Not recommended under 15 (Sex. Theme. Lang)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for John Tucker Must Die
  • a review of John Tucker Must Die completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 19 September 2006.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 15 Not recommended due to sexual references (including the glamourising of casual sex), adult themes and coarse language.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: John Tucker Must Die
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Frequent mild sexual references, Mild coarse language
Length 87 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

As a result of men always skipping out of her mother’s life, Kate (Brittany Snow) has constantly moved from school to school. She has remained ‘invisible’ all of her school life, never experiencing being popular, and extremely inexperienced when it comes to having relationships with boys. John Tucker (Jesse Metcalfe) is captain of Forest Hills High basketball team and all round school’s most popular guy, who is manipulating and bedding three girls at the same time, cheerleader Heather (Ashanti), campus reporter Carrie (Arielle Kebbel) and radical vegan Beth (Sophia Bush). When the girls discover that John Tucker has been dating all three at the same time a brawl erupts between them. Kate suggests that rather than fighting amongst themselves, the girls should seek revenge against John Tucker, i.e. that “John Tucker Must Die.”

The girls try to ruin John by running a campaign to embarrass him as much as possible, and make him the least popular guy at school. When John manages to turn every plot to his own advantage, making himself even more popular, the girls decide that that the ultimate revenge would be to make John fall in love and then break his heart. To achieve this, they recreate Kate in their combined image and set about the task of making John fall in love with her.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Sexual relationships, self image and awareness

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • a girl deliberately throws a volleyball into another girl’s face and then repeats the attack
  • three girls push and shove each other, throwing volleyballs into each other’s stomachs and slapping each other across the face. They end up in a tangled wrestling match on the floor of the gym.
  • John Tucker and an opponent push and shove each other during a basketball match
  • girls slap John across the face
  • at John’s party, boys publicly humiliate Kate and her three friends by throwing drinks in their faces
  • a female coach drags John around by his ear
  • John is pelted with popcorn
  • the three high-school girls state that they want to “kill” John Tucker.

 

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Apart from the above mentioned violent scenes, it is unlikely that anything in this movie would scare or disturb children.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Apart from the above mentioned violent scenes, it is unlikely that anything in this movie would scare or disturb children.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Apart from the above mentioned violent scenes, it is unlikely that anything in this movie would scare or disturb children.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Apart from the above mentioned violent scenes, it is unlikely that anything in this movie would scare or disturb children.

Product placement

None

Sexual references

There are frequent sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Be careful, you’re hot, really hot.
  • That top looks so hot on you I bet it looks even hotter off of you.
  • For you I don’t have to give up all meat (oral sex connotations).
  • He’s been in your pants.
  • He’s getting an award for having the clap.
  • When you run out [of oestrogen] you’re going to grow a moustache and a penis.
  • My nipples hurt (comment by John).
  • Don’t be a pansy arse (comment in response by John’s coach).
  • A real man knows how to feel, I want to feel a real man.
  • I couldn’t enjoy the break up sex. I’m such a slut.
  • He keeps it PG on the first date.
  • It’s not even my date and he still gets me out of my skirt.
  • Some pervert’s been checking out the house.
  • Like a slut under a microscope.
  • He’s in town for a lay-over and he wants a lay-over.
  • John loves girls on top.
  • Your butt is my screen saver.
  • You got ‘Tucked over’.

 

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Beth kisses Kate on the mouth in an effort to instruct her as to how to kiss John. A young boy is watching the incident and asks if they could do it again.
  • two bikini-clad women jump out of a cake
  • a male high school student pats a female high school student on her bottom
  • Kate is fitted with a ‘boob cam’, a miniature camera fitted to her bra. Kate’s cleavage and bra are shown
  • Kate passionately kisses John on the mouth
  • Beth has her dress torn off when it gets caught in John’s car
  • John kisses several different high school girls
  • John, wearing only a red lace thong that reveals his buttocks, climbs into a woman’s bed in a hotel room
  • several high school boys wear thongs, which are revealed over the tops of their pants
  • John tells his friends that he will be having sex with Kate on the weekend. He says “I’ll be scoring more than baskets” while doing a little dance that includes pelvic thrusts
  • John tells his team mates the advantages of wearing thongs “They’re breezy, don’t bind and they give you just enough swing.”

 

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • John’s energy drink is spiked with oestrogen.
  • Kate and John are shown drinking champagne.
  • it is inferred that high school students are drinking alcohol, and although no one is overtly depicted as being intoxicated, some are shown to be rowdy and abusive.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language and put-downs in this movie, including:

  • pansy arse
  • slut
  • mother f…
  • shit
  • no ‘f’n way

There are also several put-downs in this movie, including jerk, retard, clap and pig.

 

In a nutshell

John Tucker Must Die is a teenage romantic comedy that stereotypes high school male and female students. It has some funny moments that will appeal to its target audience of young adolescents. However the movie sends a number of negative messages to teenage viewers, including that high school males are expected to treat relationships with high school girls as conquests of sexual desire and that girls are objects or targets to be chased and acquired through whatever means necessary including lying and deceit. Alternatively, the message is sent to high school girls that lying about who you really are will get you in trouble. Cheating in relationships is desirable for males, but not for girls. The film glamorises casual sex, and sends the message that it is acceptable, and in many ways expected, for high school students of both sexes to participate in casual sex, including multiple sexual encounters.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include honesty as a path to self-esteem and self worth. Deception is shown to have negative and hurtful repercussions.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children the importance of developing positive and respectful relationships based upon trust and understanding.

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