All The Ways 'The Other Woman' Is Really Just a Grown-Up Version of 'John Tucker Must Die'
After weeks of being bombarded by its Kesha-filled trailer and pretty offensive, emoji-based ads, The Other Woman was released on Friday. It's being promoted as a movie all about women banding together to take down a man and that may be true, but it's not exactly a groundbreaking concept. Besides the fact that the movie isn't quite as empowering as it may hope, it's been done before. Does anyone else remember John Tucker Must Die?
The Other Woman has a lot in common with the 2006 teen movie, from character types to specific plot details. And where there are differences, it's actually John Tucker Must Die that prevails. It may be surprising that a largely forgotten movie starring Jesse Metcalfe would beat out the higher-profile The Other Woman, but when you put the two side-by-side, it's obvious.
Let's see how the two movies stack up.
Both films center on an essentially identical story. A guy, the titular John Tucker or The Other Woman's Mark King (Game of Thrones' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), has three separate relationships. When the three women find out he's cheating on all of them, they team up to get revenge. In both movies, that includes letting him believe nothing is really wrong and secretly giving him hormones to make him more feminine.
In John Tucker Must Die, the girls switch his protein powder with estrogen, while in The Other Woman wife Kate slips it into his morning juice. John cries during a basketball game, while Mark worries that he needs a bra and Kate asks if his penis is smaller yet from the "manopause."
So when it comes to plot, both movies are almost scarily similar.
In both movies, there are three women who team up for their revenge, each falling into a specific archetype.
1) The Central Woman—In John Tucker Must Die, Ashanti's Heather seems like she'd be the main girlfriend. She's a cheerleader for John's team and the two are equally popular at their high school. Heather gets very angry about John cheating, and uses her access to him to convince him to drink more protein, which is replaced with the estrogen. In The Other Woman, as Mark's wife, Kate is clearly the key relationship and she uses her knowledge of Mark and involvement in his life to help setup the group's schemes, like their own estrogen plan.
2) The Overachiever—As The Other Woman's trailer shows, Cameron Diaz's Carly is a high-powered, driven woman, who becomes the group's leader, masterminding their revenge. In John Tucker Must Die, Arielle Kebbel's Carrie is a very motivated, involved student, who organizes the group and makes presentations detailing their plans for John.
3) The "Dumb Slut"—Both films also perpetuate an unfortunate Hollywood trope, the dumb slut. As you can tell from her few lines, Kate Upton's character in The Other Woman, Amber, isn't exactly the brains of the operation. Her idea for revenge is to kick Mark in the balls, and the other characters refer to her as "the boobs." She's also introduced running in slow motion on the beach, making her as sexualized as possible. John Tucker Must Die's version of that is Sophia Bush's Beth, a character who's only trait besides being dumb and sexually experienced is being vegan. If there was one thing The Other Woman should've changed, it's this sexist character type.
Another strangely similar element in both movies is having one character's brother as a love interest. In The Other Woman, Kate's brother, played by Chicago Fire's Taylor Kinney, seems like he'll be the guy to replace Mark in Carly's life. While in John Tucker Must Die, Gossip Girl's Penn Badgley is "The Other Tucker," who has a flirtatious relationship with Brittany Snow's character.
There aren't many, but the few differences between the comedies make John Tucker Must Die sound at least a little more appealing. The first is the addition of Snow's Kate to the teen film. Kate is sort of an innocent bystander to the other three girls, but decides to help them with their revenge because she'd seen her mom get hurt by many men. She pretends to date John and make him fall in love with her, so she can break his heart the way he did to Heather, Carrie, and Beth.
No such character exists in The Other Woman, who helps the others just for the sake of helping fellow women rise against a man. Instead, it's the three scorned women alone who join together, without throwing in any sympathetic friends.
Another difference that's simple but important is that in The Other Woman, Kate is married to Mark. By focusing on adult women who all thought they were in serious relationships with Mark, the movie raises the stakes much higher than John Tucker Must Die's high school romances. Yet that added detail makes the plot of The Other Woman sort of sad. Kate thought she was spending her life with Mark, Carly had finally settled into a serious relationship after years of more casual dating, and Amber thought Mark was going to leave his wife for her. Those are much more complicated situations than a few teenaged girls being wronged by the school hottie.
The final difference is that unlike The Other Woman, John Tucker Must Die has some diversity. As one of John's girlfriends, Ashanti plays a main character and the other girls at least have different hair colors. In The Other Woman, Mark is with three white, blonde women. The only diversity in the whole film comes from Nicki Minaj as Carly's assistant Lydia, who isn't given much to do and embodies the "sassy black woman" trope.
So if you were planning on going to see The Other Woman this weekend, save yourself the trouble and watch John Tucker Must Die instead. It's basically the same thing, but with a few less problems.
Images: 20th Century Fox