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Title :The DUFF (2015)
Release :20 February 2015 (USA)
Stars :Mae Whitman, Bella Thorne, Robbie Amell
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For years, Bianca Piper (Mae Whitman) has efficiently navigated the soul-crushing hallways of highschool. Aspect by aspect along with her two finest buddies, Casey (Bianca A. Santos) and Jess (Skyler Samuels), Bianca has been inspired to take-pride in her private quirks, informal type, and love for traditional zombie motion pictures – whereas managing to disregard the useless opinions of “pre-celebrity,” and bully, Madison Carter (Bella Thorne).
That’s till Bianca’s childhood buddy, and faculty soccer hero, Wesley Rush (Robbie Amell) factors out that she is a DUFF (Designated Ugly Fats Good friend), forcing her to query shut friendships in addition to her probabilities with Toby – Bianca’s cultured (sushi-loving and guitar-playing) crush. In an effort to show that she isn’t anybody’s DUFF, Bianca teams-up with Wesley (in change for Chemistry tutoring) to reinvent her picture and recapture her former satan–might–care confidence. Nevertheless, as Bianca turns into more and more fixated on proving she isn’t a DUFF, she additionally realizes life-changing battle is at hand – one that’s a lot larger than catty labels on City Dictionary.
Based mostly on Kody Keplinger’s 2010 novel of the identical title (which she wrote her senior 12 months of highschool), The DUFFwas tailored for the large display by author Josh A. Cagan (Bandslam) and director Ari Sandel (Intention Excessive). Followers of the e-book will certainly discover that Sandel’s therapy is a streamlined model of the printed supply – abandoning many of the novel’s extra melodramatic, and overtly sexual, components in favor of an easy story of teenage self-empowerment (in addition to romance). The e-book has been celebrated for its portrayal of recent teen relationships and highschool bullying however the movie story is filtered by PG-13 highschool comedy tropes. The end result? A humor-filled drama for the present highschool crowd – since The Duff makes well timed factors about self-love, physique picture, and trendy relationships however falls wanting turning into a teen drama traditional (e.g., Simple A, She’s All That, and 10 Issues I Hate About You).
As indicated, the narrative accommodates well timed components that can resonate with Technology Z – from the have an effect on of social media on highschool tradition to the age-old problem of balancing private expression with recognition. But, like most Hollywood productions, The Duff leans closely on popular culture nods and period-specific conditions that will finally date the film – for the sake of pandering to the present viewers on the expense of older moviegoers or viewers who may watch the movie years later (when Snapchat is not a family title, for instance). Nonetheless, regardless that choose jokes and references lend extra style-than-substance, the core storyline gives loads of worthwhile materials – particularly as Bianca finds peace and a wholesome perspective on her DUFF label.
Fortuitously, Sandel assembled a powerful forged – with amusing, albeit fairly one-note performances from a number of acquainted faces: Bella Thorne (Alexander and the Horrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Unhealthy Day), Allison Janney (Juno), Ken Jeong (The Hangover), and Romany Malco (Weeds). Although, despite high quality supporting expertise, there’s little doubt that Mae Whitman and Robbie Amell assist elevate The DUFF above normal teen fare. After showing as a aspect character in a number of cult-hit TV exhibits and movies (Arrested Improvement, Parenthood, and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World), Whitman proves that she will be able to carry a lead position as Bianca. Eager comedic timing and charming whit, in addition to consolation in her pores and skin (alongside a forged of thin blonde actresses), be certain that Whitman is working towards, in her personal efficiency and bigger profession, what The DUFF preaches.
That mentioned, whereas Whitman lays a powerful basis in the principle position, the actress and the movie are at their finest when paired with Amell’s honest and downright endearing tackle normal highschool jock cliches – as Bianca’s childhood buddy, and neighbor, Wesley. Even when Whitman and Amell stretch to promote just a few of the story’s extra melodramatic plot beats, their onscreen friendship gives pleasurable banter (and a few contemporary twists on prior teen drama outlines).
It’s satisfying to see an business staple like Whitman (who performed President Whitmore’s daughter in Independence Day) get deserved time within the highlight however Amell steals practically each scene – transitioning Wesley from caricature to a semi-layered male counterpoint for Bianca. The DUFF won’t be essentially the most nuanced drama of the 12 months however, alongside a downright fascinating position in The Flash, Amell’s skill to make Wesley a standout entry in an already sturdy forged proves the up-and-coming actor is greater than only a TV heartthrob (or second fiddle to his Arrow-starring cousin).
Finally, The Duff does little to interrupt from its teen drama format however, on the identical time, gives worthwhile (albeit principally superficial) updates to timeless style tropes for present PG-13 viewers. Whereas it doesn’t reinvent the teenager film wheel, The Duff nonetheless touches on intimate topics which can be worthy of revisiting – particularly in a tradition that has change into more and more obsessive about social notion. For that motive, Sandel’s movie isn’t more likely to win-over older moviegoers who’ve seen related storylines explored earlier than, particularly inside the periphery of their very own highschool expertise, however by way of total execution, The Duff is a profitable adaptation – and may present entertaining (and relatable) viewing for its meant viewers.