In the tradition of ‘Mean Girls’, ‘Clueless’ and ‘Easy A’ comes another teenage movie about the trials of being in high school. ‘The DUFF’ is another of these movies to explore the tough world of adolescence, being labelled and bullied.
The term ‘DUFF’ is an acronym for ‘Designated Ugly Fat Friend’ and when central character Bianca (Mae Whitman) finds out that she is in fact a DUFF for her ultra-pretty friends not only is she mortified, she is determined to change it and remove her label. She enlists the help of resident jock Wesley (Robbie Amell) in order to change her image and ultimately remove her DUFF status.
With the help of Wesley, Bianca is transformed into not so much a beautiful swan, just a more confident better version of herself. He teaches her to work up the courage to talk to boys, more so her long time crush Toby (Nick Eversman) and ask the floppy haired guitar playing boy on a date. It’s pretty easy to tell though where the story is going to head. Toby turns out to he a jerk, and the more time Bianca and Wesley spend together the more they develop feelings for each other.Naturally Wesley’s crazed on-again-off-again ex-girlfriend Madison (Bella Thorne) tries at every turn to thwart them with some excessive cyber bullying. Not so much because Madison wants Wesley back, she just does not want him to end up with a DUFF and she takes it to another level of nastiness with her evil plans.
While the movie takes every chance it can to be this decades teen classic it really does not have the same quotable one liners as predecessor ‘Mean Girls’. The lead ‘DUFF’ Bianca is neither fat or ugly, but throw her frumpy pairs of overalls and she looks plain and frumpy. It’s enjoyable and has a few great moments but does not quite reach the heights it is aiming for, there are a few strange moments too but overall it is rather enjoyable. It is a bit of a disappointment that Bianca never has that one moment where she emerges from a chrysalis and is reborn a butterfly. She makes a great entrance at the Homecoming dance, but it is a little underwhelming. It’s a sweet enough movie but hardly memorable.