The Duff (2015)
Bianca (Mae Whitman) is a smart and nerdy high school girl with 2 gorgeous friends who are nothing like her. Jess (Skyler Samuels) is pretty, sweet and attractive. Casey (Bianca A. Santos) is athletic, aggressive and attractive. What Bianca soon realizes, through the help of her pig-headed, next door neighbor Wes (Robbie Amell), is that she is a D.U.F.F. (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) and she makes her friends look better. Not only is Bianca offended and hurt by this realization, but she is determined to change her image in order to get the guy of her dreams, and she needs Wes’s help to do it!
I’ll be the first to admit that the story of The Duff has been overdone so many times that it was pointless to make another version, but alas, here it is. For those of you not familiar with this story (The Ugly Duckling, The Taming of the Shrew, She’s All That, My Fair Lady, and my personal favorite 10 Things I Hate About You), you will be in for a treat because the Duff is this generation’s interpretation of it. As those that came before it, The Duff is cute, enjoyable and charming. It teaches the age-old lesson “Be True to Yourself” and “Beauty is on the inside.” In my opinion, this is one of the rare times when having a cast that is full of rookies is of benefit. We get to attach ourselves to these characters based on the story roles and not because of real life popularity (which is the point of the movie).
As I stated above, The Duff isn’t the first time this story has been done and I think that is its only flaw… but it will be a huge one. Sadly, I don’t think The Duff will stay in the limelight for long due to the other adaptations. It just doesn’t have anything memorable to standup against Heath Ledger singing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” during band practice, Audrey Hepburn yelling “Arse” at the horse races or Rachel Leigh Cook walking down the stairs to “Kiss Me” in that red dress. However, to those young people out there who have never seen those other films, The Duff can be their “She’s All That” because they do feel somewhat similar (minus the cruel bet.) The Duff is a perfect date movie as girls will love it and guys should enjoy. However, if they don’t, girls you’ll know it’s ok to dump him! HA!
At the end of the day, The Duff is sweet, entertaining and an easy watch without being too shiny. It might not be laugh out loud funny, but it will sure make you smile. It takes an age old story and handles it very well, but just don’t be expecting anything new from the idea. This movie could have easily gotten an 8 from me due to the likability and enjoyment, but when “10 Things I Hate About You” is in your top 5 movies of all time, it’s hard to say The Duff is on the same level. Still, The Duff is a solid film and one that I would recommend teens and families enjoying. Co-starring Bella Thorne, Romany Malco, Nick Eversman, Ken Jeong, Allison Janney, and Chris Wylde.
7/10 Stars – The Duff is sweet, cute, charming and entertaining, however, its only flaw is the predictable story done much better by countless other adaptations.