Written By Marley Ghizzone
The DUFF Plot Summary:
When Bianca Piper (Mae Whitman) finds out she is the DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) of her friend group, she decides to break free of her less-than-complimentary label. She enlists the help of her popular next door neighbor, Wesley Rush (Robbie Amell), to teach her the ways of dating and general hotness.
The DUFF was predictable. I knew, as I’m sure everyone else in theater did, the main plot points, twists, and final outcome from the word go. I rolled my eyes at the perfect makeup and outfits the girls sported and the lack of parental supervision. I scoffed (and swooned) as Wesley Rush, played by twenty-six year old Robbie Amell, showed off his extremely muscle toned body. “This isn’t what high school is like! Ever! For anyone!” I wanted to shout at the screen, during the very extravagant and non-sloppy weekday rager thrown by resident mean girl Madison Morgan (Bella Thorne.)
And yet, I loved it. Whitman was a perfect casting for Bianca Piper. She was able to make her funny and weird, without being pathetic. Whitman made Bianca a real person which increased the likability of the movie.
When I first saw the trailer, I thought I had its number. I assumed it was going to be an ~uplifting~ movie, all about being yourself and accepting yourself while exhibiting the complete opposite message. Be yourself! As long as yourself is pretty and less weird! I wasn’t completely wrong. It was corny, and everyone was still an unachievable beautiful, but I didn’t leave the theater feeling a deep injustice for Bianca.
Bianca stayed true to her core personhood for the whole movie. Her big transformation with Wes, focused on clothes and undergarments and chatting up boys, didn’t drastically change her personality. Instead, she became more open and confident. In a convoluted way, shrouded under mean labels that will now worry high schoolers for years to come, The DUFF had a good message – be yourself and don’t hide behind your labels, self imposed or otherwise.
The DUFF was also hilarious. I found myself laughing more times than not. Though over-dramatized, the depiction of high school life gave way to relatable and uncomfortable jokes, and snappy banter. The DUFF, in my opinion, also seemed to lean in to the over-the-topness of high school movies. The DUFF made fun of itself and its genre, showcased well with the two separate scenes of friends asking each other if they should make a video go “viral.”
I recommend seeing this movie, but caution that only the aimed demographic (girls aged 14-25) and my father will like it as much as I do. The DUFF isn’t a must-see in theatres, but definitely a must-see at some point.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10