THE DUFF | REVIEW

THE DUFF aka THE DESIGNATED UGLY FAT FRIEND is releasing for the teenage market with a definite sway towards females for this upcoming school holidays, so ideally we sent mid 30’s Kernel Blake Currall along to review :). It was a pretty decent match and you can read his review below. Big thanks to the fine folks at Hachette Australia (the publishers) for the invite to this Roadshow Films releasing movie. THE DUFF is a young adult romcom novel from Kody Keplinger that has been adapted to the screen. It releases April 02 in Australia so if you have daughters in their teens – you have half a day covered for the holidays!! THE DUFF is rated M and runs for 101mins. All the best………..JK.

 

THE DUFF MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
THE DUFF | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER IMAGE

 

BY BLAKE CURRALL

Being a male in my mid-30s, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to channel my inner 15 year old school girl to fully appreciate what looked like yet another “girl wants boy-boy wants other girl-girl wants different boy-girl probably gets other guy in the end” teen rom-com. I know, they’re ten for a penny these days…

There was a glimmer of hope with THE DUFF though, with Mae Whitman as the lead actress starring as Bianca, the ‘DUFF’ in question. For those that may not recognise the name or face, ironically, Whitman first rose to prominence as Ann, the somewhat invisible-disappear into the background-girlfriend of George Michael Bluth in the brilliant series ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT. Her….?

Bianca is a zombie film loving, high achieving student at her high school, star reporter of the school paper and a bit of an outcast, who is often overlooked in favour of her two hot, leggy best friends, Jess (Skyler Samuels) and Casey (Bianca A. Santos). Bianca is the slight outsider in terms of coolness, popularity and fashion, and even though she’s usually the smartest person in the room, she’d never realized this about herself.

 

THE DUFF MOVIE IMAGE
THE DUFF | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MADISON (BELLA THORNE), CASEY (BIANCA A. SANTOS) & BIANCA (MAE WHITMAN)

 

While begrudgingly attending a high school party, Bianca runs into her long time next door neighbour, who just happens to be the dreamboat-beefcake-quarterback for the high school team, Wesley (Robbie Amell – from THE TOMORROW PEOPLE, THE FLASH and also cousin to Stephen Amelll aka ARROW), where he informs her of her status as The D.U.F.F. to her friends, ie The Designated Ugly Fat Friend. The news comes as a shock and sends Bianca off the rails, doing the unthinkable in today’s society and cutting her friends off from all social media. Totes awks.

With help from her self-help guru mum (Allison Janney), who got her inspiration from a certain Homer J Simpson, Bianca looks to start fresh and change her whole way of life in order to catch the eye of her high school crush, emo singer/songwriter and general fop, Toby (Nick Eversman). With her face to face social skills about as on point as her fashion sense (ie rubbish), Bianca resorts to asking for help in the ways of love from Wesley, in return for her tutoring him in order to pass chemistry and keep his football scholarship.

If you can’t see where this is heading, you need to get out more, but in all honesty the two characters are so well written, with plenty of gags delivered by razor sharp timing by Whitman and Amell, that the budding new phase of their relationship is a fun journey to ride along with. A clichéd mall shopping centre montage is given a fresh coat of paint all thanks to Whitman’s performance in the role, she’s definitely a future comedy star.

 

THE DUFF MOVIE IMAGE
THE DUFF | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | WESLEY (ROBBIE AMELL)

 

While the film starts a little slow before finding its feet, there is plenty of humour and a surprising amount of language included to keep the slightly older crowd entertained as well as the target audience of the aforementioned teens. Admittedly, the film loses its way a little towards the end with the typical teen romcom geek transformation story falling onto its staple clichés, almost as if the director had a checklist to tick off as the story was wrapping up. Bitchy love interest – check, friends reunited – check, all the nice people winning – check, Tyrannosaurus Rex stampeding through the school – che…wait, sorry, that was the ending I came up with.

All in all, I enjoyed The DUFF a helluva lot more than I thought I would, that’s not to say its brilliant, far from it, but if you strap on your lollerskates and board the roflcopter (that’s what the kids say these days, right?) there’s enough here to give you a few good laughs. Special mention must go for Ken Jeong, who seems to have stumbled onto this set from the Community one and not noticed the difference, as he plays pretty much the same character but thankfully in smaller doses, so he is somewhat tolerable.

 

2 and a Half Pops