On the surface The DUFF seems like a fairly generic teen comedy with not much going for it. And while it does have some moments that do fall into that generic category it's also got a lot that sets it apart from your average teen comedy. We've seen this story many times before where the not so pretty girl gets help from the really hot guy to try and impress everyone else but she may just end up impressing him. Despite that cliche story line The DUFF offers up some great characters, really clever writing and a consistent amount of laughs to put it above your average teen comedy.
The biggest positive here is the breakout performance by Mae Whitman as Bianca. While she's been in plenty of other things before she's never been a household name, this performance should grab more people's attention of how charismatic she can truly be. There's also a great supporting cast here that helps add to the film's fun. Robbie Amell does a fine job as the typical jock we see in these kinds of films but he does add a little more heart to his role than we usually see. We get some great comedic performances by some comedy veterans in the likes of Ken Jeong, Romany Malco and Allison Janney who all steal the show anytime they are on screen.
There's not much here to dislike other than a few small things. Like I mentioned before this is a story we've seen time and time again so the film does have a lot of cliche moments and it hits a lot of the same beats that that have appeared in other films. To go along with that there are some jokes that do fall flat and the film does have a little bit of a lull during some of the middle scenes. This type of film is also extremely predictable and with the clever writing here it would have been nice to see them do something different but in the end it felt like they just settled for the happy ending. All that being said this is a welcome surprise and a really entertaining watch.
The DUFF is cleverly written, consistently funny and features a breakout performance from Mae Whitman.This is the type of teen comedy we need to see more of, something that can have a familiar story yet set itself apart just enough to make it worthwhile.