The DUFF: Film Review – Of Mean girls, Misfits and Melodrama

Mean Girls and Easy A have continued to reign over the teen-drama genre for years, and its safe to say their position remains intact. While The DUFF is preachy and predictable and not even in the run with the likes of the aforementioned movies, it does have a good deal of both wit and charm. The film has successfully managed to give a modernized update to a classical scenario involving an outcast who tries to fit in with the help of a good-looking and popular mentor. It is populated with all of your beloved paradigms.The dim witted jock, with a heart of gold- check. The uber classy mean girl- check. The understanding sidekicks- double check.


The plot is centered around an awkward misfit (surprise, surprise) Bianca, who seems to be content with her high-school life covered in denim overalls and ignorance. That is until her quarterback neighbour Wes (Robbie Amell) bluntly informs her that she is the DUFF- the Designated Ugly Fat Friend – the gatekeeper of all the hot friends and the wing girl (Well, sort of) to all those boys out there. This leads to Bianca spiraling down an identity crisis, which the director Ari Sandel handles with such shrewd wit and insensitivity that its hard to see The DUFF becoming an instant teen classic. Add two hot friends, a vindictive, albeit hot, ex-girlfriend and a funny and impetus teacher to the mix, and you have the film served to you on a rather tarnished silver platter.

The trump card of the film however has to be Mae Whitman. She single-handedly manages to sell the weird quirkiness and the endearing charm lingering beneath her hideous denim overalls. The chemistry between Whitman and Amell is easy-going and palpable which makes the dialogues even snappier. Bella Thorne, however, tries too hard to be Regina George-like and brings down the whole vibe of the film. The film has superbly put out how cell phones and internet now provide, if not straight away dominate, teen social interaction. It successfully manages to embrace the pitfalls of technology- just like it does its leading lady- on its own perfectly imperfect terms.

Why should you watch this film?

The DUFF is not a comedy which will make you laugh out loud, but has more than enough funny bits which makes it likeable. The plot, at first, seems entangled but it eventually leads towards a clear goal. You don’t need to be Einstein to figure out where it is going, but overall its an amusing and whimsical trip.

By Ekta Shetty


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