Sunday, June 7, 2015

Blu-ray Review: The DUFF

Breaking down barriers and erasing labels, the smart, honest, hilarious comedy The DUFF arrives on Digital HD on May 26th and will follow on Blu-rayCombo Pack (plus DVD and Digital HD), DVD (plus Digital) and On Demand on June 9th from Lionsgate Home Entertainment and CBS Films. Based on the best-selling book by Kody Keplinger, The DUFF reveals that while social media can amplify even the little things, high school social hierarchy hasn’t changed since the John Hughes era. Directed by Academy Award® winner Ari Sandel (Best Live Action Short Film, West Bank Story, 2006), The DUFF features some of today’s hottest stars, including Mae Whitman (The Perks of Being a Wallflower), Robbie Amell (TV’s “The Flash”), Bella Thorne (Blended), Bianca Santos (Ouija), Skyler Samuels (upcoming TV’s “Scream Queens”) Romany Malco (Showtime’s “Weeds”), Nick Eversman (Wild) along with Ken Jeong (TV’s “Community”) and Allison Janney (TV’s “Mom”).

Bianca’s (Whitman) universe turns upside down when she learns that her high school refers to her as a “DUFF” (Designated Ugly Fat Friend). Hoping to erase that label, she enlists the help of a charming jock (Amell) and her favorite teacher (Jeong). Together they’ll face the school’s mean girl (Thorne) and remind everyone that we are all someone’s DUFF…and that’s totally fine.

Special features on the home entertainment release of The DUFF include three featurettes looking at the making of the film, a look behind the scenes at the premiere, character profiles and a gag reel. The DUFF will be available on Blu-ray and DVD for the suggested retail price of $39.99 and $29.95, respectively.

My Thoughts

The DUFF is a story about a teen girl that learns that all her friends make fun of her behind her back, calling the "DUFF" which means designated ugly fat friend. Instead of letting the bullies get the best of her, Bianca forms a plan to overcome this image. With the help of the school jock and one of her teachers, she teaches the school mean girl a lesson. Along the way, romance blossoms between her and the jock.

This movie is predictable, and the storyline is typical of teen films (jock/mean girl/nerd triangle). Even though  the characters are very stereotyped,  the movie has a good moral and parts of it were funny. I like that it teaches kids to respect themselves and stand up to bullies. However,  I don't their examples of an "ugly fat friend". The girl who plays Bianca does a great job in her role. She's a terrific actress, but putting a pretty thin girl in a pair of overalls does not make her "fat".  For teen girls who really do struggle with their weight, they are going to look at this and think, "OMG, if she's fat, than I'm obese."  While its great that Bianca stands up to the bullies, using her as an example of a "fat" girl is only adding to the stigma that you need to be a size 1 to be beautiful. If Bianca, who may be a size 6 at most, is fat, what are girls in a size 12 going to think? 

Overall, the movie was not bad, and my teen daughter enjoyed it, but I really wish the role of Bianca had been played by someone who was a few sizes bigger (but still beautiful). It would've made the movie much more realistic and meaningful.