Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Movie Review: The Duff

"The Duff poster" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia -
I enjoy a good teen-angst flick from time to time. Most of the time they are predictable with the same basic story and cast of cardboard-cutout characters, but that doesn't stop them from being entertaining.

The Duff is a 2015 teen-angst comedy/drama. It is rated PG-13 and is appropriate for teenagers and up due to language and content.

The Good

Bianca. Bianca is presented as the typical frumpy, chubby, unpopular girl who you know is going to get the hot jock at the end. Fortunately, the actress who plays her has so much personality that she actually becomes an interesting character from almost the beginning. I actually cared what happened to her.

Contemporary. This movie was more than just a remake of past teen-angst flicks. It really did look at the current high school situation and wrote the story around that. The use of social media and teachers hands off approach was very current. And the videos the villain posted looked like something a high school student would actually put together.

Comedy. This movie is funny and I found myself laughing quite a bit. It is a PG-13 so some will find some of the language and humor inappropriate, but nothing you wouldn't expect from this kind of movie.

Pacing. This movie is well paced and never seems to drag or move too quickly.

The Bad

I'm OK, You're OK. This movie has an overly clear message that people are just right how they are and you shouldn't judge other or worry what others think about you. It's very much a product of its time. What's obnoxious is how the audience gets hit over the head repeatedly thru speech after speech. The message was clear without spelling it out, and yet the movie spells it out over and over again.

Too Nice. Everyone in the movie is too nice which takes away from the conflict and makes the main character's situation seem less severe and less sympathetic. Her two best friends are cute, popular girls who are very loyal and kind and give her access to the other popular kids at school. She's really not much of an outcast. The only really villain is the ex-girlfriend who is little more than a caricature of a mean girl with little substance. I'm sure it's just to push the message that everyone should be accepting of everyone else, but it isn't realistic and it is takes away from necessary conflict and drama.

What I Would Like to Have Seen

I would have appreciated the producers to give the audience a little more credit and use a little subtly with the message. We got it. Even the stupid members of the audience got it.

I would also have liked to see more chemistry and conflict between the main two characters. We know what kind of movie this is, so we know they're going to start out not liking each other in the beginning but falling in love by the end. But they actually seemed to really like each other at the beginning so much that is seems strange they aren't dating. And when they do finally date, there isn't a lot of chemistry or romance you expect to see. It makes the end a little unsatisfying.


Overall, The Duff is an entertaining movie that follows the standard teen-angst formula but brings enough interesting characters and contemporary plot points to keep the audience entertained. The characters, while typical stereotypes for this kind of movie, have enough personality to make them interesting to watch and the audience care about them. I give it 4 out of 5 boxes of popcorn.

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