So last night I did something I have never, ever done before in my 18 years of life.
I went out on a Friday night.
Kidding, I’ve done that before…once or twice.
I went to see a movie without reading the book first, and after seeing the movie, I have no intention of ever reading the book.
*cue cries of outrage*
It’s not because I didn’t like the movie, in fact, it’s the exact opposite reason. The movie was amazing. So amazing that I don’t want to read the book and ruin the movie for myself. I’m frequently let down by book-to-movie adaptions, and I refuse to let this wonderful movie be ruined. What spectacular movie was this? Fifty Shades of Grey? Yeah, no. It was The DUFF, starring Mae Whitman (awesome) and Robbie Amell (yum). The movie is about a girl who finds out she is “the duff” of her group, that is, the “designated, ugly, fat friend”. Harsh, right? Well that’s the moral of the story. Once Wesley (Amell) reveals this to Bianca (Whitman), she is extremely hurt, and rightfully so. Wesley is the stereotypical hot football jock, and Bianca is the nerdy loser who spends the weekend watching movies and surfing the internet (basically, me). She decides not to settle for this label, however, and enlists Wesley’s help to “un-duff” her. The result is an hour and fifty minute comedy, with a deeper message.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s intended to be a light-hearted comedy, but it does address important issues in today’s society, such as cyber-bullying and standards of beauty and perfection. The “popular girls” bully Bianca in school, and no one accepts that she is beautiful in her own way, because she doesn’t dress the right way or have the perfect makeup. However, by the end of the movie she teaches everyone a lesson or two in what it means to be a “duff.”
I really, really enjoyed the movie. Robbie and Mae had amazing chemistry, and there were a lot of laughs combined with several touching scenes. Mae Whitman is an amazing actress, and I really don’t think the film could have succeeded without her. Fun fact: Mae is who the author envisioned as Bianca before there was even the thought of it becoming a movie. She is quirky, and yet still loveable as a character despite the sarcastic attitude and pajama-to-school attire. She also had a very valuable leading man in Robbie Amell. He brought a new level of depth to the “jock” stock-character. I normally find this type extremely boring in movies, however Robbie made Wesley loveable and funny, and even at times, someone the viewers, as well as Bianca, could emphasize with.
Both Robbie and Mae made their stock-characters into something much more complex and endearing. The supporting cast was not lacking either; notable actors and actresses include Bella Thorne, Romany Malco, Allison Janney, and Ken Jeong.
I think the thing that caught my attention the most was the abundance of references to social media. The film begins with a tracking shot (hey look, my cinema class this semester is actually teaching me something!) that shows the courtyard of the school filled with students who have their noses buried in their phones, which is a familiar picture if you’re a current high school or college student. There are also multiple references to social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. As a young adult, I found myself both surprised and appreciative of director Ari Sandel’s inclusion of social media in the film. Social media is a huge part of my life, and this is the first young adult film that really throws it in your face, and tells the audience that yes, social media is now an integral part of today’s society.
I would give The Duff a 5/5 (and I give Robbie Amell a 10/10). It is the first movie I’ve seen in a while that made me laugh, tear up, and really made me think as I left the theatre. The Duff is currently in theatres, so go see it today! I promise, you won’t regret it.
P.S. As I said at the beginning of the post, I won’t be reading the book, however I’ve heard from friends that it really is a good book, so don’t let me stop you from reading it! The link to the Amazon page for it is: http://www.amazon.com/The-DUFF-Designated-Ugly-Friend/dp/0316084247/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1424581533&sr=1-1
and the Kindle edition is currently only $2.99! So what are you waiting for?
And here is the trailer 🙂