Film Review: The DUFF

My friend said on Facebook, “We are all somebody’s DUFF.”

And that reminded me that I’ve heard about the book, The DUFF by Kody Keplinger, but I hadn’t known that it had been made into a movie. Which shouldn’t surprise me, as that seems to be the rage nowadays. Still, high school setting, romantic comedy…bring it on! We have to take a break from work anyway.

Rating: popcornpopcornpopcornpopcorn

Available now at Amazon.

The story:

Bianca (Mae Whitman) had her world ripped out from under her when jock Wesley Rush (Robbie Amell) told her she’s The DUFF to her more beautiful, popular friends. What’s a DUFF? It’s Designated Ugly Fat Friend, designated to make her other friends look better to other people. (As an aside, teenagers are cruel, mean people. How in the world did somebody came up with this DUFF term? Still, why should it surprise me? I remember when I was a teen and my classmates came up with these terrible labels for our teachers. Did they come up with one for me? Who knows? Certainly, nobody dared say it to my face.)

She was tired of mooning from the sidelines for her crush Toby, and decides to enlist Wesley’s help to reinvent herself.

After reading the synopsis of the book, I realized the plots of the two are completely different. As I haven’t read the book yet, I can’t say which plot is better, but definitely, the movie is funny, with plenty of laugh out loud moments. It follows along the typical formula for high school romantic comedies, such that I know and can guess how the story is going to go, but still, it’s a good movie if you’re looking for something light and relaxing for unwinding and de-stressing.

The story is generally okay, except for one part that I have some problem with.

**Spoiler ahead so skip this if you don’t want your watching experience to be spoiled.**

Wesley brought Madison (the “villain”) to Bianca’s special place and got back with her, his reason being because Bianca had a date with Toby.

Er, say that again? I guess he assumed Toby and Bianca would end up together on the strength of a first date. Um, yeah, sure.

And that is sooooo wrong on sooooo many levels.

  1. If Bianca were special to him, as it seems to be that way at that point in the movie, he wouldn’t have brought anyone else to Bianca’s special place.
  2. And Bianca being with Toby is no reason to hook up again with his on-again, off-again girlfriend Madison. I mean, as in that very night that Bianca had a date with Toby is the night that it all happened.

That Wesley brought Madison to Bianca’s special place is just so that Bianca could catch him at it and thus, have her misery intensified. And thus, make movie watchers more sympathetic to Bianca’s plight.

And Wesley hooking up with Madison is a set up for homecoming night, the climax of the movie where the conflict would be resolved.

What all this shows is the underdevelopment of Wesley’s character as the hero. While this is undoubtedly Bianca’s story, she should also have a hero worthy of her. And thus, I wish Wesley’s character arc had been developed more, with more plausible motivations and actions.

And I thought the part where Bianca told Toby that his song is a “piece of shit and so are you” is uncalled for. She’s mad, I get it, because Toby proved her wrong in her high regard of him, but that’s not his fault. She could’ve said something different to convey her anger, but attacking his person and his talent is just wrong. And she didn’t apologize to him later either.

The characters:

Mae Whitman carried the entire story on her shoulders. She’s a great actress; that scene at the department store where she was hamming it up with a mannequin that looked like Toby was both hilarious and cringe-worthy. Well, I cringed, because the entire scene looked crass and smacked of desperation.

Robbie Amell…well, aside from his looks, which I’m sure stand him in good stead being a Tom Cruise look-alike, I wasn’t wowed by his acting skills. Not that he’s bad, but I guess there’s always room for improvement. Although that thing he did with his chest muscles was impressive. And those 6-packs! Wow. Yum.

Quote:

“In the end, it isn’t about popularity or even getting the guy. It’s about understanding that no matter what label is thrown your way, only you can define yourself.”  ~ Bianca

Verdict:

Light, fun and funny. Good for unwinding and relaxing after a hard day’s work.

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