If you’re looking for a good romantic comedy, The DUFF is perfect. It follows Bianca (Mae Whitman), a high school senior, who learns from her popular neighbor, Wesley (Robbie Amell) that she is her clique’s DUFF(Designated Ugly Fat Friend). This means she is seen as someone others go to to get information about her prettier,more interesting friends. This acronym plagues her mind as she realizes that every single group has a DUFF. Wanting to shed her ridiculous label, she abandons her friends and agrees to tutor Wesley if he helps transform her into “the dateable one”. Adding to the mix is the classic mean girl, Madison (Bella Thorne), who posts embarrassing videos of Bianca on the Internet to disparage her. Despite having a cliché plot, the personalities and the unpredictability of the characters add a praise-worthy element that makes the romance sweet but not saccharine.
This movie is based loosely on a book with the same title by Kody Keplinger. Although the same message of being yourself is captured, the events and relationships differ completely. There isn’t a thing besides the characters that correspond with the book. More emphasis is placed on the strain of family bonds in the novel and it basically drives the plot. Even though this concept is incorporated in small parts of the movie, it became completely overshadowed by Bianca’s love life and consequently, didn’t have a proper resolution.
This movie is definitely a commendable one because of the relatability of the protagonist. The sensitive yet standoffish character Mae Whitman brought to the screen embodies the modern teenager and is extremely believable. The way she shows how Bianca is going through emotional turmoil and the small nuances that foreshadow events make this immensely enjoyable. This movie conveys the message of being yourself and to stop comparing yourself with others because no matter how great you are, you will never be satisfied unless you’re comfortable with who you are.