Now Showing: The Duff

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Michelle Ki, Asst. Feature Editor

“The Duff,” a film adaptation of the best-selling novel by Kody Keplinger, depicts the struggles of social pressure in high school with comedy.

Although one could classify “The Duff” as just another cliché chick flick, the film speaks volumes about the ongoing struggles of a real life high school teen in a truly relatable fashion. However, the film does contain cheesy high school love story elements that’s getting a bit trite these days.

It is obvious that the main character, Bianca Piper (Mae Whitman) is not your typical “in-style” teen. Her best friends, however, Jessica (Skyler Samuels) and Casey (Bianca Santos), perfectly blend in with the whole “high school” scheme with their more fashionable looks. Antagonist Madison Carter (Bella Thorne) is portrayed as the stereotypical “mean” girl of any chick flick. One day during school, Madison reveals she is holding a party. At the party, Bianca’s childhood friend and current football jock, Wesley Rush (Robbie Amell) talk while he pours her a drink. Wesley then calls her “the Duff” (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) of her trio friend group. Bianca initially is in denial but soon realizes she really is “the Duff” and is determined to change that.

Directed by Ari Sandel, the film emphasizes the over usage of technology and social media by today’s teens. However, “The Duff” doesn’t fight it but embraces it. In the movie, the truth of our generation revolving around technology and social media is accepted. The film’s message conveys the insecurities and labels that almost every teen faces. Although the message is quite typical, it recognizes the reality of what every teen struggles with; “The Duff” promotes self-acceptance and confidence.

The film’s biggest crime however, is the fact that the cyber-bullying and bullying in it was solely featured for laughs and not for the awareness aspect of it. ”The Duff” had a lot of potential to promote what is probably the biggest problem among teens yet it chose not to. When Bianca is shamed for an embarrassing video of her that goes viral, the script almost completely forgets about her bullying in a matter of minutes.

The performances, with the exception of Whitman and Amell, are mediocre at best. Though the acting wasn’t Oscar award worthy, Whitman and Amell exceeded my expectations with their outstanding chemistry. Whitman specifically stood out due to her wit and unbeatable stage presence. However, both fit their characters well and sprinkle their own finesse into each and every scene. Although the acting was subpar, the charismatic and engaging cast sets this film apart from any other chick flicks.

Although the film follows the plot line of a typical high school comedy, its characters are surprisingly refreshing and unique. There is nothing too heavy about this film, yet it delivers an empowering message. “The Duff,” a movie adaptation of the best-selling novel by Kody Kiplinger, is easily one of my favorite high school comedies to date—light-hearted and hilarious yet accurate and genuine.