THE DUFF MAKES YOU BELIEVE IN TEEN COMEDIES AGAIN
Synopsis courtesy of IMDB: A high school senior instigates a social pecking order revolution after finding out that she has been labeled the DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) to her prettier more popular friends.
If I were currently 16 I think The DUFF would be one of my favorite movies. It’s not quite Mean Girls (2004) or Clueless (1995) but it’s the closest a teen movie has come lately to reaching that level of charm. Most of this is due to Mae Whitman because she is amazing as always. I’ll even give some of the credit to Mr. Tom Cruise wannabe Robbie Amell. C’mon, I know you see the resemblance.
The DUFF tells a story about a “Designated Ugly Fat Friend” that is not fat or ugly. But, don’t worry the movie addresses this in a very matter of fact way. There is a great scene where this description is dissected so that even a 40 year old would shake their head in agreement. For 90 minutes or so we get to watch as a young girl’s world is turned upside down as she struggles to shake off this image. She even has a trusty sidekick in the form of a hot jock to offset quirkiness. And by quirky I mean she likes zombie movies. So not really quirky at all, it’s “teen movie” quirky.
Sure, there are moments when this movie is a cliché wrapped in a cliché but you can’t help but stick with it. Where you expect someone to run away after an inevitable awkward “Oh shit, I’m in love with you.” kiss that person stays and makes a joke. And it’s actually funny. Spoiler alert by the way, I guess? I mean really you know where this movie is going just from the trailer.
Eighties teens movies used glasses and bangs to disguise a hottie as the best friend a guy could never hook up with. Now, oversized brokeback shirts, sports bras and chunky boots make girls look so frumpy guys would never dream of trying to cop a feel. *Insert picture of our main character looking “frumpy”
This movie is hip and uses all sorts of lingo that I think made the middle aged man next to me in the theater think he was in the Twilight Zone. Ironically, a show no kid in the theater probably knows about. I’m still at the age where I can keep up; I mean who doesn’t use the term “amazeballs” one in a while? Amirite?
This film is incredibly self-aware and has fun with transforming teen comedies of the past into something the youth of today can appreciate. The DUFF will win you over with it’s charm, quick one-liners and you’ll keep watching just to find out if Mae Whitman will have one of her epic cry sessions. Let’s just say fans of Parenthood will be satisfied. I felt the price of my ticket was well worth it for the scene where a group of friends have a falling out. They proceed to dive into unfriending and unfollowing all at the same time from the comfort of their phones. Sounds ridiculous but is so freaking spot on.
Finals thoughts: If you’ve ever felt like or have totally been a D.U.F.F this movie will bring you some much needed comfort. And, Ken Joeng is pretty funny.