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Trivia / Goofs
Summary / Analysis
Times of India
During a party, college football star Wes (Amell) tells his buddy Bianca (Whitman) that she is a 'DUFF', or 'Designated Ugly Fat Friend' and guys are only sociable to her in order to get with her good-looking girlfriends. Shocked, she tries to reinvent her look in order to win over Toby (Eversman), who she's hot for.
Ari Sandel bases this story on Kody Keplinger's novel of the same name and gives us a lighthearted yet telling look at the kind of peer pressure that some US high school students face. So systematic is the improvised 'class system' is that there are even innocuous-sounding acronyms designed to conveniently categorize peers into neat slots. Bianca has great grades, yet she doesn't realize that guys are nice to her just to use her like a 'gateway' to approach her bombshell babe buddies Jess (Samuels) and Casey (Santos). Bianca has both wit and candor but she wears pajamas to school and is decidedly frumpy.
She is pissed off with Wes for his bluntness ("On an average day how many people ask you questions about Jess and Casey, and how many about you?" he asks her) but at the same time, is appreciative that he serves her the truth straight up. They make a deal to help each other out. He will help her change her look and mannerisms into something that conforms to what her peers consider cool and she will help Wes with his science grades so that he can get his sports scholarship for college.
Cyberbullying is also represented when Wes' jealous girlfriend Madison (Thorne), in order to shame Bianca, secretly shoots a video of the latter acting goofy while trying on new clothes in the local mall, and it goes viral. The manner in which Sandel sets up Wes and Bianca's building chemistry makes the way in which this film plays out pretty obvious. Despite the very predictable way the movie moves along, the message here is simple, well-known and comfortingly reassuring - that if someone loves you, they will do so because of who you really are on the inside.
The plot of the movie and book are significantly different.
Bella Thorne was initially supposed to play Bianca.
Mae Whitman is nine years older to Belle Thorne, but they play classmates in the film!
When Bianca and Wes go shopping, the items that she is wearing on her wrist are not in continuity when she comes out of the dressing room.
Bianca Piper is a bright teenager in high school for whom approval from her peers is a big deal. This extends to ideas about beauty and romantic compatibility. Bianca is a senior in in high school with good grades and her two best friends are Jess and Casey, who due to their good looks and personalities are among the most popular students in school. Her neighbor and childhood buddy Wes happens to be a star in the school football team but he unfortunately, is not that bright in the academics department. Bianca's love interest is the amateur musician Toby Tucker, and she hesitatingly agrees to go to a party hosted by Madison Morgan (who has reality TV aspirations) just so that she gets the opportunity to chat with him.
Unfortunately the party goes completely downhill for her as not only does she not get to talk to Toby, but Wes talks to her and unintentionally tells her that she is a 'DUFF' in her friend group and indeed, for most people in college who know her. He tells her that such a distinction is not connected with being an ugly or fat female - it also applies to a guy who has handsome male friends. So, it's not just about body shape, but rather, someone who is very approachable - sort of like a 'gateway' - to the 'hot' people in college.
Bianca feels like the rug has been pulled from under her feet, and she feels very insulted. But when she goes home later that night, she also realizes that for all his bluntness, Wes is actially right. And she then gets upset with Jess and Casey and confronts them, accusing them of not being her real friends. She then, in an angry huff, unfriends them on social media and of course, in real life too. Later in college, Bianca overhears Wes getting a bit of a dressing down from his science teacher, telling him that unless Wess doesn't pass the midterm exams, he will be kicked off the high school football team. This in turn will lose him the sports scholarship which will make it that much harder for him to go to a good college.
Now, Wes is the cool guy but a duffer when it comes to science. She approaches him with a deal, saying that he can help her turn her life around by becoming a new, 'cool' person and she will give him all the help he needs to pass his midterm exams, so that she won't be regarded as a DUFF any more. Wes takes her to the mall so that she can buy a bunch of new clothes. There, they both loosen up a bit and get more comfortable with each other. Unknown to them, Wes's girl Madison heads there and sees them having a good time, and gets jealous. She takes a video ridiculing Bianca and post it onlineâleading to the entire school mocking her. It also becomes clear that Madisonâa reality-TV wannabeâfeels possessive of Wes, her on-again-off-again boyfriend, and is jealous of Bianca's relationship with him.
Wes advises her not to let the video destroy her. Instead, he advises that she own it and just be upfront with Toby, by talking directly to him and asking him out. When Bianca next sees Toby at school she does ask him and, to her surprise, he accepts. Bianca takes Wes to her favorite spot in the forest, her "think rock", to plan a strategy for the date. They kiss, but joke about it and pretend it didn't mean anything. At Bianca and Toby's date at his house, she discovers that he is DUFF'ing herâspending time with her in order to connect with Jess and Casey. She confronts him about it and leaves in tears. Seeking Wes to talk with him about the date, but she finds him at the thinking rock kissing Madison.
Angry with Toby and Wes, she reunites with her friends, Jess and Casey, and they, along with her understanding mother (Allison Janney), convince her to go to the homecoming dance with them, in an outfit that they make togetherâincorporating elements of her previous wardrobe such as her flannel shirts. At the dance, Bianca tells off Madisonâsaying, essentially, that we are all DUFFs who should be true to our own identities. Madison is crowned homecoming queen, and Wes is crowned king, but he rejects Madison and the title, and kisses Bianca in front of the whole school. In the end, her article about homecoming is a hit with the students and Bianca is going to attend Northwestern University while Wesley goes to Ohio State, still together.
Mae Whitman, Robbie Amell-starrer The Duff released in theatres on June 12, 2015.
Here are some responses that the film received on Twitter...
Just finished watching #TheDUFF. LOVED it! Def. a movie I'll watch over and over again! :)
This is a story of a common looking girl who is not considered beautiful. So they call her duff. At first she was very much annoyed and then decided to enjoy situation as it coames. Ultimately she proved that beauty is not every thing. If a girl of common looks also handles herself properly and lives as she is, she impresses every body, liked by all and becomes successful. This is a good film with a message to young girls who are not considered very beautiful. Simple message is that remain what you are and do not try to impress any body by being beautiful. .