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The Duff Movie Review

February 20, 2015

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By: Lynn Barker

Bianca is smart, witty and cute but when a hot jock lets her know that she’s thought of as The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) in her group of popular girls at school, she realizes he’s right and even though she isn’t ugly or overweight, she’s always been the sidekick, never the focus of attention.  Can she change this? Will an unlikely hot guy help her?

Wesley (Robbie Amell) advises Bianca (Mae Whitman)Wesley (Robbie Amell) advises Bianca (Mae Whitman)

I’m What?

Mae Whitman, cast member of the just-wrapped series “Parenthood”, is Bianca Piper, a smart student with perfect besties played by Bianca Santos and Skyler Samuels. They are trendy whereas Bianca wears T’s, pajama bottoms and denim overalls. Blissfully unaware that she is the “dog” of the trio, Bianca gets wised up by her hot neighbor footballer Wesley (Robbie Amell) who tells her she’s The DUFF of her galpal group; you know the less attractive friend the guys go up to to get info on the others.

Wes gets very real with BiancaWes gets very real with Bianca

Tailspin

Figuring out that for years, Wesley has been right, Bianca goes into depression. Wes tells her that this type of friend isn’t always ugly and fat, they just are just unaware of the social order of things. Although her besties are kind about it, unlike the school uber-mean girl Madison (Bella Thorne), Bianca decides to push them out of her life in order to shine on her own.

Madison is cruel to BiancaMadison is cruel to Bianca

Makeover

Bianca makes a deal with Wes. If he will help her doll up and get the musical dude she is crushing on (Nick Eversman), she will help him pass chemistry to save his athletic scholarship. With Wes bluntly telling her that her bod needs maybe a good bra and Spanks, Bianca sets out to buy new duds. Hey, she’s known him all her life so he’s like a bro to her. From him, she can take it.

Wes is about to do his special "pec dance" for BiancaWes is about to do his special "pec dance" for Bianca

Cyber Set Up

When Bianca’s embarrassing antics in the mall dressing room are video-d by a frenemy, the viral video makes her even more the outcast. Bianca will bounce back, get her man and prove that Duff-dom isn’t forever….won’t she?

The three bestiesThe three besties

Wrapping Up

Yes, it’s another teen rom/com but, like Easy A, it has its edgy moments. Two of the best things about The DUFF are the performances and chemistry provided by Mae Whitman and Robbie Amell as Bianca and Wes. They admit that they ad-libbed much of the movie and it works. They play off each other beautifully. Mae has some serious physical comedy chops as does Robbie in a funny chest pec dance scene in the school locker room. Robbie admits he borrowed his chest wiggling idea from “The Rock” – Dwayne Johnson.

Madison (Bella Thorne) rules the schoolMadison (Bella Thorne) rules the school

The adults in the movie aren’t sloppy either. Ken Jeong as the journalism teacher who was himself a DUFF in school is hilarious and Allison Janney is funny and warm as Bianca’s messed-up mom.

What is cool about this story is not only that an underdog wins but the cocky jock in the movie actually has a good heart and can change and reveal his soft underbelly as the story progresses. There is also some fun dialogue and snarky remarks that are delightful.

Mean Madison (Bella Thorne) is totally self-centeredMean Madison (Bella Thorne) is totally self-centered

There is nothing new here other than maybe the term DUFF, coined I guess by author Kody Keplinger who wrote the book when she was herself a teen. You should take your besties and check out this teen rom/com. It’s a few steps above many you’ve seen lately. We go 4 stars

The Duff Movie Rating:[RATING 4,movie ]

The Duff is in theaters now!

 

 

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