Starring: Mae Whitman, Robbie Amell, Bella Thorne, Bianca A. Santos, Skylar Samuels, Romany Malco, Ken Jeong, Nick Eversman, Allison Janney
Directed By: Ari Sandel
Each generation has their set of teen movies. There are the token horror movies, like Nightmare On Elm Street, Scream, or for the new generation I guess… Insidious? Ouija? I don’t know what kids today watch actually. But, The DUFF follows in the grand tradition of adapting “Pygmalion” and acting like it’s an original concept. In this film, a frumpy girl is remade into a gorgeous chick and the guy who remade her is like “WHY DIDN’T I SEE IT ALL ALONG?”
So, while the plot of The DUFF isn’t revolutionary, it is still entertaining, due in large part to its leads. Mae Whitman is like a Christina Ricci for the dubstep generation. She’s not as angry or edgy, and not nearly as goth. She’s approachable, and her rapport with Robbie Amell feels real. They have more chemistry than Freddie Prinze Jr and Rachael Leigh Cook in She’s All That. And Bella Thorne is terrifically bitchy. Even though most of the supporting cast doesn’t make an impact (why did Ken Jeong even bother?), the leads are solid, and that makes the film work really well.
It’s already at Redbox, I missed this in theatres, so the question is “should I go out of my way to track this down and watch it”? If you like teen comedies, sure. Definitely. If you like smart teen comedies like Easy A, then you’ll really love this. It’s not a B-level teen film, this is definitely a top-tier teen movie, even if it isn’t really all that original.
FINAL GRADE: B+