Tuck Everlasting (2002)
Main cast: Alexis Bledel (Winnifred 'Winnie' Foster), William Hurt (Angus Tuck), Sissy Spacek (Mae Tuck), Jonathan Jackson (Jesse Tuck), Scott Bairstow (Miles Tuck), Ben Kingsley (The Man in the Yellow Suit), Amy Irving (Mother Foster), and Victor Garber (Robert Foster)
Director: Jay Russell

I understand that the Natalie Babbitt book that this movie is based on is a popular middle-grade school book in America? Needless to say, I left school long ago and during my time, I was forced to read Richard III again and again until I could do a Macbeth witch impersonation in my sleep. Lucky kids today, they get to read a trashy Titanic written for the Amish in school.

Okay, I understand that the movie made the heroine older so that they can do a teen romance thing. Bad move. Although I must say the casting is perfect. Alexis Bledel, the perfect girl-next-door type, bland, sexually ineffective, and not too pretty, plays Winnifred the same way she plays Rory in the Gilmore Girls: bland and monotonous, only with slower diction. Jonathan Jackson plays Jesse Tuck, looking just like a boyband reject come to life. Between Jesse and Winnie, two seventeen-year old kids whose hormones never seem to have kicked in action at all, their romance is all about running under moonlight and staring deep into each other's eyes.

Like I said, a perfect romance for the Amish and any ultraconservative crowd. This is the perfect movies for parents to imagine their non-hormonal kids will love to watch. This is the movie you kids will shudder whenever your parents play this again and again during Happy Family Hour when you would rather sneak away to have wild sex and a deep toke afterwards in the backseat of Bad Boy Jesse's daddy's car.

Actually, Jesse isn't 17, he's actually 104. But he and his family stop growing old and they cannot die, not after they drank water from a magical spring hundreds of years ago. In early 1900s, our heroine Winnie, rich and privileged, is chaffing at the limitations of her life when she walks in the woods in her estate, encounters Jesse, and then whams, gets kidnapped by Jesse's brother Miles. She is brought to the Tucks, who then teach her again and again to "Do not fear death - but rather the unlived life."

Lovely flute music bursts forth in the background as our hero Jesse strips to baggy pants and our heroine to her demure undies and he swing her around in the waterfall like a parody of the barroom dance in Titanic. No, there's no lovemaking in the backseat or Jesse's hand slapping on the inexplicably foggy car window afterwards. Remember, no sex. This is a Disney movie. For the Amish.

But Winnie's parents have offered a reward to anyone who can find her. In comes the Man in the Yellow Suit who wants the secret of the springs. He causes a chain of events that culminate in a "You jump, I jump!"-like scenario of thwarted love.

The adults in this movie have nothing to do, while the kids play a wretched job in being as bland as possible. I find it odd though that Winnie will fancy Jesse when we have dark, brooding Miles in the picture. Scott Bairstow plays Miles like a typical growly elder brother, but he's way yummier than our American Idol reject Jonathan Jackson.

This movie is dull because it takes great pains to be as inoffensive as possible. The result is a movie that is so squeaky and unrealistically clean that it's as if Disney has deliberately produced a movie specially to placate the crazy family safe watchdog groups out there. This is a kids' movie alright, because immortality doesn't seem to have any effect on the Tucks other than Miles. For a 104-year old, Jesse remains a 17-year old teenager at heart, apparently untouched by maturity or loneliness. Pa Tuck offers the usual obligatory advice, but Ma Tuck is embarrassing as the airy-fairy Southern Mommy type. What will immortals do? Learn religion, take up meditation, dress in cool black and lop people's heads off with swords? In this movie, immortality is like a minor excuse to whine.

Still, I must confess I shed a tear towards the end of the movie.

Anyway, kids, if you enjoy this movie, try sneaking around to watch Titanic sometime. It has the same type of heroine, although Bledel can only to hope to possess even a little of Kate Winslet's fiery screen presence, and best of all, it has teenage kids that do what teenage kids love to do - shagging! Tuck Everlasting is like a film reel that has been soaked in antiseptic overnight. It's so nice and proper, it's actually creepy and unnerving.

Rating: 74

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