Posted by On The Big Screen | Posted on 17-02-2015| Posted in
A quirky, true-to-herself protagonist, a hot boy next door and an evil popular girl compose the roller coaster ride of humor that is The DUFF.
When Bianca (Mae Whitman, Parenthood) a senior who coasted through high school with two close friends, realizes that those friends only used her to better their reputations by having her as their DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend), she begins a quest to un-DUFF herself with the help of her popular football player neighbor, Wesley (Robbie Amell.)
While the basic storyline is a good one, the overly witty dialogue and strange product placement (social networks like Instagram and Snapchat are mentioned several times) make The DUFF seem like a kitschy attempt to relate to its audience.
The film has genuine bits of humor, however, thanks to Whitman and her awkward attempts to talk to boys at the mall. Whitman’s performance is fantastic; her character was genuine and relatable, and the choices she makes throughout the film are reflective of the modern teenage girl.
The real star of The DUFF is Ken Jeong (The Hangover), who plays Bianca’s newspaper adviser. He adds a different level of humor that ultimately lifts the film from the basic teen comedy to one that people of all ages can enjoy. Madison, the stereotypical mean girl prototype (Bella Thorne, Shake It Up) doesn’t have much depth, but she contributes to the drama in the movie.
While The DUFF has some authentic moments, it won’t be immortalized as a teen classic. The movie’s underlying message, however, is one that should be celebrated across Hollywood and beyond – while there will always be those who are prettier and smarter than you, you should never let that discourage you.
More ‘The DUFF’ reviews:
The best of the lot is Ken Jeong as Mr. Arthur, her favorite teacher, who gives her an assignment to write about what prom means to her. Ugh.
Jeong is so much more likable here than the screeching, profane Jeong of “The Hangover.” Toned down, he is actually funnier.
—The L.A. Times
A remarkably restrained Ken Jeong as the school’s most inspirational teacher. Restrained, yes, but the unpredictable and outrageous Jeong still tosses in a few naughty asides to juice things up.
—The Toronto Sun
It’s Ken Jeong who stands out. Jeong, who has made a sort of cottage industry for himself playing twisted characters in already deviant comedies, tones it down a notch here as an affable, goofy editor at the school paper.
–The Associated Press