The Duff, better known as the Designated Ugly Fat Friend, was a cute premise and I had high hopes for this film.
We start with a trio of unlikely friends who've known each other for years. Where one goes, the others are inevitably present and they are happy and comfortable with their relationship. That all changes one night at a party when Bianca's neighbor, Wesley, the ever popular jock of the school, explains that Bianca is considered the D.U.F.F. of the group. He 'enlightens' her on her role as the trio's advocate for others who are interested in dating her friends, using her as the approachable one because she isn't appealing enough to date.
Heartbroken, Bianca examines her life and comes to the self realization that Wesley's right, leading her to the decision to cut all ties to her best friends. When Bianca over-hears Wesley is in danger of losing his scholarship because he's flunking science, she offers a trade. Help in science for 'reverse-duffing'.
This movie has a great message about feeling comfortable in your skin and embracing who you are. However, the theme of bullying and the lack of consequences bothered me. We see a group of proverbial 'snotty-rich' girls harassing Bianca in a way that makes her the talk of the school, including the teachers lounge. There are no consequences and the same group of girls double their efforts when Bianca, through the help of Wesley, blows off the first incident a little to easily.
The second downfall was the sexual content woven throughout the film. While I loved the idea of the movie, I was more than a little shocked at the sexual references. I didn't read the book before hand so I can't say how the movie stacked up as far as staying true, and maybe I'm too naive but I have to ask. Do teens in high school really talk like this? Yikes!
If you're looking for a cliche' movie that has some witty expressions and a message that has to be uncovered with a bit of effort, this movie is for you. All in all, I thought the casting was perfect and the actors had chemistry and personality onscreen which made the film enjoyable if you can look past the rest. I'm just glad I was one of two people in the theater watching it, the other being the friend who came along for the adventure. Otherwise, I'm afraid I would have been a more bit embarrassed. I gave it 3 1/2 stars.