Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 64% (Critics) / 75% (Audience)
Directed By: Ari Sandel
Written By: Josh A. Cagan
Starring: Mae Whitman, Bella Thorne, Robbie Amell, Ken Jeong and Allison Janney
Studio: Lionsgate Films
Synopsis: 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. – (Source)
I was shocked by the wit of the script in this movie. What could have devolved into some sort of ABC Family pablum was instead a bit smarter than the average paint-by-numbers teen movie. This is helped immensely by Mae Whitman brings a lot of subtle charm and intelligence to her role. I was also surprised by CW mainstay Robbie Amell who showed a bit more natural charisma and humor than I am used to seeing from his genre fare.
There is nothing original here and you can see pretty much every plot beat coming from a mile away. Also the generic teen movie mean girl was just so unnecessary of a character. She could have been written out of the movie completely and it would not have made any impact at all.
The ending is a bit sappier than I was hoping for. An ending with a little more bite would have gone a long way to upping this film’s quality. Or at least an ending that didn’t require the film’s heroine to undergo a girlie makeover would have been nice.
Final Verdict: Basically a SHE’S ALL THAT for millennials, THE DUFF is a lot better than it has any right to be and much better than I expected. Nothing revolutionary is going on here but it is a fun and charming little movie that doesn’t insult one’s intelligence despite its predictability.