The DUFF – Review

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail 1

Billed as an updated take on Mean Girls, presumably by lazy journalists and those too young to know any better (what do you mean they are the same thing these days!?!), The Duff is actually an enjoyable social media-savvy teen movie that ultimately limps to a predictable finish.

Smart teenager Bianca (Mae Whitman) has a group of cool friends, even though she sees herself as “the quirky one”. Her neighbour and former friend Wesley (Robbie Amell), however, has a different place in mind for her social ranking. Bianca is devastated to learn that she is The DUFF, the “Designated Ugly Fat Friend” – the person in a group who makes everyone else more accessible and popular. Her dreams of landing her crush, guitar-playing smoothie Toby (Nick Eversman) are brutally shattered. She unfriends her own group across social media and becomes the target of the school’s meanest Mean Girl Madison Morgan (Bella Thorne). Wes and Bianca soon realise they can help one another. He needs to pick up his grades at school, and she needs to lose her DUFF status. The pair have fun, but one of Madison’s lackeys spies on them and releases a video of Bianca’s faulting steps which soon goes viral. Can Bianca overcome this latest set-back and win her respect back?

The best thing about this film is in how it handles the multitude of Social Media platforms that everyone uses these days. Even if you scraped past your school days before Facebook and Twitter fully arrived on the scene, you can understand just how they have had an impact on the school kids of today. The characters might come from the broad stereotypes we’ve seen in other high school films, but they are at least convincingly portrayed by whole-hearted performances from the actors.

Recommended:  Fair Play Review

Mae Whitman makes for a likeable lead. She is funny and yet plays the quirkiness with enough charm for it not to grate. Her Bianca is thankfully not just a hipster with a sense of humour. It helps that the “jock” character of Wesley is also fully-formed. Amell has fun, and he will certainly go on to bigger things. You may have recently seen him in episodes of DC Comics series The Flash. The romance that inevitably develops between them (no need for spoilers here), is well structured and carries you through despite of its predictability.

Comparisons to Mean Girls and other classics is probably being too generous however. This feeds on the reputation of others, and aside from the addition of technology, it adds little that is new. That said, the handling of social media is not an easy feat to achieve – just take a look at the woeful Men, Women and Children as an exercise in how not to do it.

Credit too to Bella Thorne. She plays her mean-spirited character in a way that keeps her watchable. The depiction of Toby is also a neat twist, and keeps things moving in the final act when you might be losing interest.

The DUFF is a fun little film, not taxing in the least, but entertaining all the same.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail 1
This entry was posted in Reviews and tagged on by .

About Cassam Looch

Cassam Looch has been watching films ever since his first trip to the cinema to catch Care Bears: The Movie and writing about them after a traumatic incident involving Moonwalker. If he's not hassling celebrities on the red carpet, he'll usually be found in the darkened screening rooms of Soho.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.