Directed: Ari Sandel
Screenplay: Josh A. Cagan
Music: Dominic Lewis
Having read The Duff by Kody Keplinger last year and having utterly loved it, I was super, super excited to see the film adaptation. And I wasn’t disappointed. I loved it. It wasn’t a direct representation from the book, but the film fixed a couple of issues that I had had with the plot and the story so it made a lot more sense to watch. Some aspects of the story changed in relation to the book but I think these changes really made for a better film. I really loved all of the characters (I now have a slight girl crush on Jess) and thought that all of performances were excellent and really captured the characters. I really loved all of the humour that was added in and it’s what I would expect from a film like this. The story flowed really well and was very easy to follow and yet very engaging and exciting to watch.
The film follows Bianca Piper who is a happy, somewhat cynical high school senior whose world is shattered when she learns her fellow students know her as ‘The DUFF’ (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) to her prettier, more popular friends. And despite the words of caution from her favorite teacher, Mr. Arthur, she puts aside the potential distraction of her crush, Toby, and enlists Wesley, a annoyingly charming jock, to help reinvent herself. To save her senior year from turning into a total disaster, Bianca must find the confidence to overthrow the school’s ruthless label maker Madison and remind everyone that no matter what people look or act like, we are all someone’s DUFF.
The main thing that I loved about this film was the characters. Every single character was engaging and developed; they all had flaws and all of them were relatable and realistic. I loved Bianca’s relationship with her mother who, unlike in the book, has been left by Bianca’s father and the family dog. They really seemed to understand each other and they both tried to help each other out wherever they could. Bianca was a really strong character who was very strong-willed and independent, yet was still very realistic with her flaws and her beliefs. I loved the characters of Jess and Casey, Bianca’s two best friends, because they were so full of life and fun and – like true best friends – weren’t without their fallouts but always made things up in the end. I was slightly worried about Bella Thorne playing queen-bee Madison purely because of her kids TV background, but actually she was great at playing a confident drama-queen who has it in for everyone else. I loved Robbie Amell’s portrayal of Bianca’s neighbor and former-friend Wes, because he was funny and charming but still slightly awkward. Bianca and Wes’s relationship was really relatable and I really liked how comfortable they were around each other.
I really enjoyed the storyline and how there were unexpected twists and turns around every corner. One of the problems that I had with the book, was some of the holes in the story and some of the events that didn’t truly make sense. But as the storyline in the film had been slightly tweaked, there was none of this confusion in the plot and everything flowed and made much more sense. However, I did find that with the plot being altered slightly, the plot didn’t touch on quite so many hard-hitting topics like the book did. All the points made about body-image I thought were very valid and whilst the film being a comedy and a romance, I really liked how they weren’t afraid to put some deeper topics into the film. However, the lack of hard-hitting topics didn’t affect the movie’s quality. This movie was hilarious to watch and filled with romance and action and drama and great dialogue. Also, I really loved the relationships that were explored in this movie, especially with friends, teachers and parents.
Overall, I loved this movie. It was funny and quirky and relatable and adorable and cringing but I loved every second of watching it. I think that this could grow into a classic chick-flick movie and if you’re looking for a bit of light relief that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy, then I’d definitely check this movie out.