Witty, modern and cliché, The DUFF, short for designated ugly fat friend, is your average high-school flick with a contemporary facelift.
The book-turned-movie describes what happens to high-school senior Bianca, played by Mae Whitman, when her best friend crushes her confident self-image. The story follows her struggle to regain self-confidence as she is bullied and humiliated by her peers, encouraged by her friends to see her worth and, of course, falls in love along the way.
The film features an attractive and talented cast. Robbie Amell plays Wesley, Bianca’s popular best friend, and Bella Thorne acts as Madison, Bianca’s model-perfect antagonist. Director Ari Sandel focuses the film on modern culture using hashtags and humor relevant to the 2015 audience.
“‹At the beginning of the movie, Bianca’s best friend Wesley reveals to her that she is a DUFF in her group of friends. Though she’s neither fat or ugly, she is the least attractive and easiest gateway for guys to get to her more attractive girl friends.
Normally self-confident, Bianca immediately seeks a way out of the DUFF role. She stops talking to her friends and offers Wesley homework help in exchange for popularity tutoring.
When an embarrassing video of Bianca goes viral and the boy she had a crush on breaks her heart, she is forced to turn to her mother and friends for help. Eventually she falls in love and debuts her new, confident self at the homecoming dance.
“‹While the plot of the movie is not the most original, it does have some unique film elements. The actors perform above average, giving the characters a life of their own. Some of the screenplay is reminiscent of YouTube videos with fast-moving clips and hilarious one-liners. Characters make fun of the way parents respond to social media in a way that is all the more humorous because of its truth.
The DUFF is good for comedic relief or a girl’s night, but won’t make the cut for most original movie of 2015.