The DUFF movie caters to the now generation’s teens. Not a bad thing.
This DUFF movie review comes from someone who has not read the book. Even though I had not read the book, I have to say that I’m pretty sure I know the formula, as many of you might know, too. Still, this is an honest review, and not one meant to trash talk the film, which I hope you don’t think I do.
The DUFF is based on the Kody Keplinger novel of the same name. It’s about a girl who finds out she’s been unknowingly labeled as a D.U.F.F. (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) by her classmates, especially since her two pretty best friends Jess and Casey (Skyler Samuels and Bianca A. Santos) are deemed even prettier when compared to their DUFF. Bianca (Mae Whitman), the DUFF, of course takes offense to this and sets out to right this wrong by enlisting her old-childhood-friend-turned-high-school-hottie-jock and next door neighbor, Wesley (Robbie Amell). Not only does she no longer want to be considered the DUFF of her group of friends, but she also wants to catch the eye of her crush, Toby (Nick Eversman). At the same time, Bianca has to deal with the bully-itch Madison (Bella Thorne), who threatens Bianca’s whole high school existence.
You probably know where this is going, right? Well, no surprises there.
However, despite the familiar storyline, the delivery is well done and decently acted for most of the characters.
Mae Whitman does a stand-up job as Bianca, bringing out the vulnerability of her as well as the strength and charm and humor that Bianca is all about. It’s pretty much like the role was made for her, even though, and I digress, Mae is neither ugly for nor fat. But that’s what her story is all about. Bianca is not ugly or fat, but she is labeled as so just because she doesn’t have the same build or style as her best friends, which then makes her seem less beautiful in the eyes of her classmates. What I liked is that Mae didn’t try to make Bianca out to be a mess of a victim, but she did allow the character to have the emotion of a teenage girl without it being two-dimensional. Bianca is shy, but not in a meekish pathetic sort of way. She’s strong, but not brash. She’s funny, but not slapstick. Mae understands her character, and it fits well for her.
Robbie Amell took to his role fairly well. There were a few times when his reactions in certain scenes felt a little forced, but it wasn’t too bad. And although Wesley blatantly offends Bianca in a couple of scenes, Robbie plays the part just fine, displaying well the ignorance of his character without it seeming bullyish (that goes to another character, which will be discussed in a bit.) His role, however, is somewhat a little less fleshed out than Mae’s, especially when it comes to bringing out his backstory with his family, which doesn’t get much at all, really, except to show a little bit of him at a vulnerable moment. Robbie does well as the likeable friend with some insecurity issues. And although this is Bianca’s story, I think it would’ve exceeded expectations if more thought was put into Wesley.
Bella Thorne played the hot mean girl Madison. Here’s where I found the story lacked, because Madison was just plain mean. She’s a pretty girl with a bad attitude and no reason for it but to be that two-dimensional bully that hates everyone. We don’t get to understand this character, because apparently there’s nothing to understand. And Bella’s portrayal is pretty blase. Of course, Madison is supposed to be someone that the audience is supposed to love to hate, but really, you just end up forgetting her after all is said and done.
As far as the majority of the supporting characters, they did quite well with what they had. And the adult supporting characters were enjoyable to watch as well, including Allison Janney as Bianca’s motivational-speaking mom, and Ken Jeong, in a very PG rated display of humor that worked well for him as the school newspaper head and teacher.
All in all, the movie was very predictable in the story, but excellent in the delivery for its target audience, especially with Mae Whitman leading the cast.
Will you be watching The DUFF this weekend? Tell us your thoughts and don’t forget to post your rating below!