Okay, so a heads up. If a movie is reviewed in Max and Grant’s “Movies that Don’t Suck,” I won’t watch it.
For those of you who enjoy their movie suggestions, you’ll hate “The DUFF.”
Even though I watched the movie without either of them, I could feel their judgment as I laughed at the puns and secretly enjoyed it.
To be fair, I was never the sole person in the theater laughing.
Now, don’t worry. You’re not the only one who doesn’t know what DUFF means. Not a single person I’ve talked to does. As I learned from Urban Dictionary, it’s an acronym for Designated Ugly, Fat Friend.
A term that no one knows or uses. But you get the idea.
The movie focuses on Bianca (Mae Whitman), who is less fashionable and attracts fewer guys than her pretty, popular friends.
At a party, the captain of the football team, Wesley (Robbie Amell), points out to her that she is the DUFF amongst her group of friends.
He quickly adds that this doesn’t mean that she is unattractive; it simply means she is less so than her friends. As a result, guys interested in her friends will approach her to see if her friends are single, as the DUFF is typically more approachable.
The next couple days at school, Bianca becomes hyper-aware of all the DUFFs around her. And she desperately wishes to rid herself of the label.
So she strikes up a deal with Wesley – she will help him pass his chemistry class if he “unDUFFS” her.
The movie then navigates through an array of quintessential high-school issues: cyberbullying, dates to homecoming and unrequited love.
Bianca is hopelessly infatuated with Toby (Nick Eversman).
She works up the courage to actually ask him out.
Wesley keeps up his end up the deal, and preps her for the date.
Enter Madison (Bella Thorne), Wesley’s girlfriend, who dislikes his budding friendship with Bianca and goes out of her way to cause problems for Bianca.
I had the opportunity to join a conference call with Thorne, Whitman and Amell, in which they answered questions about the movie before it was released.
It was pretty much an anti-bullying talk about how “we all get through it,” and “it gets better after high school.”
Amidst the anti-bullying sentiments, I did hear a few things that gave me some hope for the movie.
Amell pointed out that “DUFF” differentiates itself from movies like “Mean Girls” because Bianca doesn’t end up with the guy she’s been crushing on since freshman year.
They also emphasized the idea that either everyone is a DUFF or no one is a DUFF, and that Bianca overcomes her struggles without changing anything about herself.
Based on the expectations I’d garnered from the conference call, I was disappointed on a few accounts.
Yes, Bianca doesn’t end up with her freshman crush. But it’s still hopelessly obvious whom she is going to be with at homecoming (not to spoil anything).
As to Bianca’s lack of change, although her personality remains the same, she does look significantly more attractive at homecoming than she did in the beginning of the movie.
I mean, she wears a shirt reading “This is my party shirt,” to the party at the beginning, and dons baggy overalls for a substantial part of the rest of the movie.
But criticism aside, I did have a good time watching the movie. It’s a great way to mindlessly watch the cliches of high school play out over the course of two hours.
And there are some lines that will have you chuckling, no matter how pretentious of a movie buff you are, like when Bianca storms out of the library yelling, “And don’t you dare be creeping on my Pinterest, hoes!”
I particularly appreciated the awkward clumsiness of Bianca as she spends time with Robbie or when she prepares for her date with Toby.
And the actors did a fine job of portraying their high-school stereotypes.
Although I had never seen any of them on the screen before, a quick Google search revealed that this was not their first experience in the entertainment world.
Whitman has appeared in “Independence Day” and “Hope Floats.” She also was the first one to give a voice to Disney’s Tinker Bell.
Amell was a guest actor on “How I Met Your Mother.” He also played Freddy in “Scooby-Doo! The Curse of the Lake Monster,” although I didn’t make the connection when watching “The DUFF.”
If you find yourself with a bit of spare time this weekend, I recommend you go see “The DUFF.” If you’re a chick-flick lover like me, the movie is right up your alley.
And even if your cinematic tastes align more with those of Max and Grant, you might still get a kick out of poking fun at it.