The DUFF is one of the latest book-to-movie adaptations to hit the silver screen. DUFF standing for “Designated Ugly Fat Friend,” as Bianca finds out from her childhood-friend-turned-jock-manwhore, Wesley Rush. Her two best friends are the hot friends that people try to talk to Bianca about in order to have an in with them. As Bianca discovers this devastating term, she takes a break from her trio and decides to ask Wesley for help to become a more non-DUFF-like person. Hilarity, of course, ensues.
Before you start gagging that this is just another Boy Turns Ugly Duckling Girl Into Hottie, etc etc etc… Well, okay, she does dress up and look more traditionally feminine, but throughout Wesley’s time with Bianca, he reminds her that she needs to have fun being herself. She needs to be herself while trying to talk to other guys (especially Toby Turner, the school’s resident cute guitar player).
Now, if you’re a fan of the novel this is based on, I will say that you’re in for something completely different. Well, not completely. I felt like the humor was on-par with the book. Mae Whitman was absolutely hysterically funny, per usual, as was Robbie Amell. I also enjoyed the addition of the journalism teacher (Ken Jeong), Mr Fillmore (Chris Wylde) and the principal (Romany Malco), as well as Bianca’s mom being more visible. Her mom is still a public speaker and author, but Allison Janney paired up with the writing of this movie was golden. I may have said, “This is me in 20 years” when she was drinking wine while crying on the John Deere running over her ex-husband’s clothes. I also ADORED that the BFFs of Bianca were given more complexity. I mean, in the book, they had more backstory as far as how they became friends, but in the film, Casey is a soccer player and genius hacker (to the point of being able to take down a YouTube video with coding) and Jess is a fashion designer.
Something that really gave this movie an edge was the pop-up graphics. If you liked the graphics in Zombieland, it’s kind of like that, except very much geared toward social media. There were hashtags, a fight which included an unfollowing spree on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, and last but certainly not least… Pinterest. And the public scrutiny that follows Bianca comes in the form of a viral video (over 20,000 hits, y’all). I just loved the principal’s reaction to it all because he tries so hard to sound up-to-date with references to Dateline and Pretty Little Liars. I do love that Mr Fillmore gets a pleasure out of taking cell phones (all your cell phones) and talking about emoticons and faces.
I applauded several times while watching this movie, which was totally great because a) I was in an advance screening and b) there were a bunch of people who were extras/background actors because the film was shot in Atlanta, Georgia. It was great being there with people who were super excited about this movie because they were a part of it. It was also applause-worthy for the moments when Bianca stood up for herself when she realized that Toby was using her to get with her friends (is this a Spice Girls song?) and a few other times when she was just super awesome at being Bianca.
Also, did anyone else wish Bianca won Homecoming Queen— or stole the crown— so she would break up the crown and give it to all the DUFFs? Nope? Just me? Okay.
In all, if you’re a fan of She’s All That meets Not Another Teen Movie meets iCarly, you’ll love this movie. Also, if you love Robbie Amell shirtless, you’ll love this movie. And if you wish Ken Jeong and Romany Malco would do a buddy comedy, this movie is a bit of a tease for that, too.
The DUFF is in theaters Friday, February 20, 2015.