Warning: Old man reviewing young teenager film ahead. Contains John Hughes comparisons and may carry bah humbug views.
Welcome to The DUFF, which is not, as might be feared, a too early biopic of Hilary Duff. Rather it is the adaptation of a successful book for young adults about a high school girl with two gorgeous high school girl friends, who realises – or rather has it harshly pointed out to her – that she is the DUFF: The Designated Ugly Fat Friend. The approachable one that people can seek information from before trying to ingratiate themselves with the real targets.
Mae Whitman plays Bianca the aforementioned DUFF who self-destructs her life in the lead up to the Homecoming dance in an effort to DeDUFF, and she is more than strong enough to carry this film, with great comic timing and screen presence.
The rest of the film is a collection of interesting and amusing ideas in search of a cohesive plan. Easy A, Mean Girls and of course Pretty in Pink have all walked these high school halls before, as have many others. Other than its clever acronym DUFF adds little that is new and ultimately falls back on too many tired high school clichés.
Which is not to say it is not fun. It is. But in a watch it on a Friday binge movie night at home, not a night at the cinemas kind of way. Now get off my lawn.
‘The DUFF’ Movie Times