Plot: A high school senior instigates a social pecking order revolution after finding out that she has been labeled the DUFF – Designated Ugly Fat Friend – by her prettier, more popular counterparts.
I was avoiding this like hellfire because I just wasn’t in the mood for a movie that told young impressionable women that they needed to pretty themselves up for the sake of conformity. It was hilarious in Mean Girls, The Princess Diaries and She’s All That, but let’s face it, we need to start telling girls that it is allowed to be absolutely themselves and that popularity really isn’t all that.
BUT, The DUFF isn’t really like that at all. When Bianca gets told by insensitive-jock-but-actually-not-that-bad Wesley (Robbie Amell) that she is the DUFF of her friend group (read Designated Ugly Fat Friend), she’s understandably upset. It’s obvious that she’s neither Ugly nor Fat at this point, but the producers wouldn’t go as far as casting a really ugly person, which would just be stupid from their point of view. She’s mad at her gorgeous friends, Jess (Skyler Samuels) and Kara (MahaleyHessan) for stringing her along, pretending they are friends, while they are just using her as wingman. They are confused because they had no idea they are that much more beautiful than she is, or popular, and a petty fight ensues. Oh, there is a love interest Toby (Nick Everman), who is soulful, poetic and makes Bianca turn into a mute, and a teacher who really loves Bianca and sees how much she has to offer (Ken Yeong).
There’s thankfully only one clothing montage, in which Wesley helps Bianca (Mae Whitman), get bras and nice things to seduce all the boys. It’s cute and fun, but a recording of it goes viral and Bianca’s life becomes pretty shaky for a while, where she naturally contemplates things and becomes stronger as a result.
It’s nothing spectacular, but the DUFF touches on cyber bullying while dealing with bitchy teens. The constant hashtagging on the screen was weird as hell but as for serving the purpose of keeping the film modern and describing any new character that comes in.
As for dual love interests – firstly Nick Everman, who was hilarious as Toby. He was all in touch with his feelings and musical and in the end so full of shit, but Nick Everman injected a lot of humor to Toby. It won’t be a surprise that in the end Wesley is the real love interest (seriously – that is not spoiler alert, that is a bullet point in a movie like this). Robbie and Steven Amell seems like the slightly less dazzling version of the Hemsworth brothers. It would seem that Robbie acts slightly better, maybe because he doesn’t wear green eye makeup and say “You have failed this city” every episode, but this Amell was not bad at all. He was really well cast as a jock, because that is obvious, but there were a few more serious scenes where he projected his feelings well too.
It would be unfair not to complement Mae Whitman. I thought she was adorable and that she went to some great lengths to prove that she was “original” and “different” – two really important things if you want to make it nowadays in Hollywood. She will be forevermore be cast probably as the quirky girl, but that isn’t the worst way to make money, and she does well enough with this type of material.
It’s very lighthearted, but the DUFF is fun, and manages to finally be a movie that whispers that you don’t need blond hair to be the best thing ever.
Have you seen The DUFF? Let me know what you thought!