Why is it when the "awkward" girl in teen movies is transformed into the "pretty," "popular" girl, all she has to do to complete the transformation is simply take off her glasses or—as in the case of John Tucker Must Die—straighten her hair? I guess that's what I love about teen movies—they're all the same, with their ultra-superficial devices, and with most lacking any originality at all. And yet (or perhaps it's why) they are so comforting, like a chocolate chip cookie made by the same favorite recipe. But John Tucker Must Die is one of those cookies that just isn't as good.

John takes Mean Girls and simply replaces teen bitch Regina George with the cheating, lying captain of the basketball team, John Tucker. And instead of a funny gay guy, a gothy pseudo-lesbian, and hottie Lindsay Lohan taking the popular kid down, three hot girls from different cliques do the job, along with one girl who has always "felt invisible." As the movie goes on it turns out to be less about killing (They meant DIE figuratively. I was disappointed.) John Tucker’s pride, and more about the "awkward" girl, Kate (Brittany Snow), finding her true self. This happens by way of the three more popular girls systematically turning Kate into a manipulative bitch, until Kate realizes that's just not the type of girl she is. Lesson learned, along with some jokes about jocks wearing thongs, and girl-on-girl action.

The movie falls short because it just isn't very funny. Where most teen movies delight with humor and quirks, and characters with at least a small amount of depth, John Tucker Must Die doesn't cut it. It's just a shell of the prototype shared with better examples within the teen movie genre, the bare minimum, hardly scraping by. If you feel like seeing some fine teen fun, do yourself a favor and rent Mean Girls instead. I own it, and I think I'll watch it now.