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Friday, February 27

Haiku Revieu | The DUFF

Friday, February 27

Mae's a total gem
It's OK to be a DUFF
Yay for teen movies

A high school senior instigates a social pecking order revolution after finding out that she has been labeled the DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) to her prettier, more popular friends.

WARNING: Possible spoilers ahead.

There's something special about the classic "ugly duckling turns beautiful swan story," and there are many great instances of this sort of theme in popular culture, particularly in teen movies. (She's All That is a shining example from my actual teen years.) In the case of The DUFF, however, the trope is turned slightly on it's head, and in a very fun way.

The movie, which is based on a book by the same name by Kody Keplinger, is the story of Bianca, who finds out that she's the "DUFF" of her friends. (Even though she's neither fat nor ugly.) This discovery leads to her wanting to change and needing to do the unspeakable—i.e., play nice with the most popular guy in school, Wesley—to make that change. In the end, however, Bianca realizes that everyone has their DUFF qualities, and that's not actually a bad thing.

Mae Whitman, who plays Bianca, is an absolute delight. She adds an amazing amount of sass and silliness to a role that could have gotten stereotypical super fast. Robbie Amell, who plays Wesley, does well as both the man-whorish dumb jock and the surprisingly sweet guy. (Since they're both 26, they're obviously not teenagers, but this is pretty typically Hollywood these days.) The cast that backs up these two leads—Allison Janney and Ken Jeong, among others—are fantastic, too.

And although the whole idea of a DUFF makes me cringe a little (I understand wanting to take the term back in a good way, but it's still kind of awful), the movie's underlying message is a great one: Be who you are, regardless of what others think or say about it. Even at 31, I still appreciate hearing this sort of thing.

Check it out:


  1. Oh man I loved She's All That!! Especially being an awkward art kid myself haha. :D
    I think while the message of the book/film is positive, I'm still not sold on the term DUFF just seems wholly negative, even when trying to 'embrace' it. But the idea of just being who you are - I'm glad that's the point they end up sending!

  2. She's All That is so great. (So dated now, haha, but still so great.) And yes, I appreciated the overall message, but I know that I still wouldn't want to be considered a DUFF.