I got the chance to see a prescreening of The Duff. I saw a preview for it not too long ago, and while I thought it looked interesting, I didn't think it would be worth seeing. But hey, I'm all for free tickets.
D.U.F.F. stands for designated ugly fat friend. The film talks about feeling worthless in school, being labeled no matter who you are, and going through life awkwardly. It's an easy watch, you can have fun without investing your whole mind into it. Teenage movies are either hit or miss. The Duff, while it had nice components, wasn't consistent. It would have realistic moments and relatable quotes...then suddenly, I was bombarded with a formulaic plot line, cliche 80s characters, and unauthentic scenes.
I loved the opening montage. It had a quote implying that high school isn't the same as it used to be. There aren't just jocks and cheerleaders, nerds, and burnouts. People are unique. The AP kids hangout with the football kids now. People are not as one dimensional. However, it points out that high school will still have groups and labels. They aren't as basic as they used to be.
Yet as the movie unfolded, I realized it was contradicting that quote. The 'most popular girl in the school,' was a bit over the top. She was tripping people, throwing their books down, and recording embarrassing videos of other girls to post on youtube. Uh, no one would get away with that these days. Yes, there are mean girls in school. But if you're trying to make a realistic film, realize that no one acts that insane unless they are trying to have a Regina George moment or something.
Not going to spoil the whole thing for you, but the movie ended with a classic homecoming dance moment where the 'ugly weird girl' becomes beautiful. I mean, come on. Homecoming isn't that big of an event anymore. People go with their date or their friends and have fun. It's not a huge reveal.
From a film lovers aspect, it wasn't innovative. I feel like it tried to copy elements from recent teen films but hey, it was a fun watch. I think some people will find it quite entertaining. The message of the film was inspiring without being too cheesy. I think it could be touching to people in middle school, high school, or even adults. It teaches us that labels do not define you, YOU define yourself.
However, I think about the humor of the film. It appealed to a lot of audiences and had a lot of unique jokes. It's not gonna be a total flop film, but it's not gonna become an iconic teen film. I would actually recommend seeing it. It was fun to watch and I wanted to see what happened, but I wouldn't pay to see it. I give it a 6.5/10. The film will be showing at a theatre near you starting on February 20th.