The DUFF (2015)
The D.U.F.F. (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) based on the novel penned by a 17-year-old Kody Keplinger is centred around Bianca, who wears dungarees, loves watching zombie films and pretty much excels at answering pop quizzes. Sounds like a cool girl, right? Not to the pupils at her school and most certainly not to mean girl/wannabe TV star Madison (Bella Thorne) who tears her down at any opportunity she gets. Upon hearing she's socially seen as the “D.U.F.F.” (usually the unattractive or approachable one in a group of friends), Bianca sets aside her feelings for cute rocker Toby Tucker (Nick Eversman) and appoints Wesley Rush (Robbie Amell) a good looking but very free-spoken footballer who helps her transition from DUFF to BUFF.
Mae Whitman, most known for her film debut as Mary Elizabeth in 'The Perks of Being A Wallflower' returns to the big screen and grabs a lead role in the process, portraying the character Bianca Piper. Whitman presents quite the decent comedic performance with her precise timing and great line deliveries. However, her performance would've been a lot weaker were it not for the excellent script penned by Josh A. Cagan (who also wrote Bandslam). With quips funny and inappropriate enough for high school based films, together with the memorable one-liners that breathes life into each character, Cagan pens a screenplay that is as original as can be when it comes to teen flicks.
Robbie Amell, who plays footballer Wesley Rush, brings some depth to the typical rude jock role as he reveals some vulerable moments in the film. Although the scene was a little weak in building the tension around his family problems, it is clear that director Ari Sandel hoped to tug on the heart strings of the viewers, which unfortunately, fell flat. Sandel redeems himself, however, as he takes teen comedy to another level delving into the intriguing mind of Bianca Piper and bringing to life scenarios that will make you clutch your ribs in laughter.
The D.U.F.F. brings to the surface the complicated social lives of high schoolers. It tackles relatable teen issues including cyberbullying, insecurities, crushes and reveals a modern and distinctive take on the high school phase. The message of acceptance of oneself becomes a little overshadowed by her desperate attempt to find someone romantically, however, by the end of the film, the message is evidently clear.
The D.U.F.F. is an altogether funny film, with a great shirtless performance from Robbie Amell, quite the typical kooky role for Ken Jeong (Leslie Chow from The Hangover Series) and a fantastic portrayal of a geek girl by Mae Whitman. This film is perfect for lovers of 'Easy A', 90's hit 'She's All That' and '10 Things I Hate About You'.