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GROWNUP REVIEW OF THE DUFF

2015 rating: **1/2
DUFF stands for Designated Ugly Fat Friend i.e. a fat ugly person who popular kids use to look more human, and the problem starts with the casting: Mae Whitman’s Bianca isn’t ugly, even when she tries her hardest, and she’s not fat. Granted, her two best friends are prettier… Then again, magazine models have that edge over most people. And the Designated part is where the story (and paranoia) really begins…

The most popular guy in school, Wesley, who is Bianca’s next-door neighbor and childhood pal, bluntly unveils the DUFF meaning, and she sees the signs, filmed creatively in a whimsical fashion, viewing the imagined – from lusty daydreams to computerized grids describing the campus ala narration – where Bianca’s philosophies on the subject make for a nice ten or fifteen minutes, and there's a genuine chemistry between Bianca and Wesley: He's teaching her how to be attractive while becoming more real in the process. But eventually THE DUFF loses focus and winds up jumping all over the place – which can be said of the movie and the main character. Other than cyber bullying and an awkward first date, there are very few obstacles to climb. 

Picture WELCOME TO THE DOLL HOUSE without the realism; SHE’S ALL THAT without the glasses; or SIXTEEN CANDLES without... Anthony Michael Hall.  Which is what this high school comedy seriously lacks. With the "funny friend" in the leading role, someone (besides Ken Jeong) needed to break the ice. OVERALL RANK: Jedi, Rebel, Droid, Sith.
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