The DUFF review

Mae Whitman plays Bianca a high school student who’s position within  her friendship trio is the DUFF.  The DUFF is a slightly offensive acronym for our lead character’s begrudging position as the Designated Ugly Fat Friend.  Her two friends, Casey and Jess, are the so called pretty friends.  Boys who are interested in either of the pretty friends, go to the DUFF for information before approaching their true target.  They act as a buffer to free up time for the popular friends avoiding people’s attractions.  Whitman’s character is initially oblivious to the term until charming jock Wesley blatantly uses it to her.  She acts then to shake the term and gain the affections of Toby.

A charming and witty high school comedy.  The coming of age story plays like a mix of Easy A, Mean Girls and 10 Things I Hate About You.  Part of the problem is the high school cliches, but I don’t mind they are often rewarding and insightful.  There are some original and funny recognisable observations about high school friendships.  The film finds originality with a pointed portrayal of teenage social media use and cyber bullying.   It has the same if weaker quotability aspect and is genuinely laugh out loud.  It will find a dedicated fanbase smaller than the above.

The title represents a genuine brutality to the student body hierachy.  Mae Whitman (Scott Pilgrim vs The World) plays a warm, sweet, funny and clever lead role.  She has predictable relationships with Toby and Wesley, played by Nick Eversman and Robbie Amell.  Who are both charming in their roles as the arty one and the jock.  Ken Jeong also features in a teacher role which fans of Community will know he can be funny in.  Bella Thorne chews the scenery with a Regina George antagonist role.  Casey and Jess are sincere about their friendship with Bianca and were also unaware of the term.

Overall:

A predictable high school comedy, with enough originality and laugh out loud moments to work.  Great lead from Mae Whitman

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