I love a teen movie, it’s a bit of a guilty pleasure. Whenever I’m home alone with nothing to do I’ll raid Netflix for an old trusty like Clueless or Mean Girls and relish in the cheesiness of it all. So, last week when I was invited to a preview screening of The Duff I jumped at the chance. Here are my thoughts…
Have you seen She’s All That and the video for Taylor Swift’s You Belong With Me? If the answer is yes then you’ve pretty much seen The Duff. There’s absolutely no new ground being broken with this film and it is totally typical of every teen makeover movie ever made. That being said though, it does have it’s funny moments and it’s a fun and, more importantly, easy watch.
Mae Whitman stars as Bianca, a frumpy high school senior whose two best friends (Bianca Santos and Skyler Samuels) are popular and pretty. At a party one night her childhood friend and hunky jock, next door neighbour, Wesley (Robbie Amell) breaks the news to Bianca that every group of friends has a DUFF (designated ugly fat friend) and that she is it in her little girl gang. Unsurprisingly, she is devastated by the news and takes it out on her friends for never letting her know. Queue the makeover portion of the film. OK, it’s not quite as contrived as She’s All That when all they do is untie her hair and take her glasses off to turn her into a surprise stunner but the basics are there.
As playful as this film is there is an underlying message about cyber bullying and accepting yourself as you are. Important messages for teenagers, there’s no denying that, but maybe a little misplaced in a film this predictable. Although, these points weren’t exactly laboured so maybe they get away with it that way.
All in all, The Duff isn’t blazing any new trails in the teen genre but it is about time someone made an up to date version of the teen queen flicks of the 90s and this is definitely that. It was a whole lot of fun and there are worse ways to spend a couple of hours (near enough) staring at a screen plus, Wesley and Toby (Nick Eversman) are pretty easy on the eye! However, next time I’m itching for my teen flick fix I’ll probably just reach for my old faithfuls (10 Things About You is next on my list to re-watch) rather than put on The Duff again.