“The Duff”

A Look at the Movies

Rated PG-13

1 hour 45 minutes

Mae Whitman, Robbie Amell, Bella Thorne, Bianca A. Santos, Allison Janney, Ken Jeong

CHICOPEE, Mass (WWLP) – Have you noticed? The best teenage comedies expose high school popularity as a vicious, backstabbing game, where only the most ruthless and cunning survive. “The Duff” isn’t just for teens, it’s for anyone whose still bitter about being a victim of snooty classmates, who looked down on them with contempt.

Mae Whitman delivers a high spirited performance as “The Duff”, a not very complimentary term for teenagers who lack the looks and the killer instinct to be kings and queens of the prom. They’re constantly reminded of “The Duff’s” (designated ugly fat friend) proper place in high school society.

High school social networking isn’t just cruel, it’s corrupt, according to this smartly written and cleverly directed satire. Whitman’s finely tuned performance provides hope for the less than glamorous who can see right through the system.

She lashes out at her “super hot” companions, asking why popular girls would want to be friendly with someone like her, if they’re not using her to make themselves look better? And where haven’t you seen that lately on the adult social level?

Aside from the cast looking much too old to be convincing as teenagers, “The Duff” is frequently funny and always perceptive. Keep you eyes on Mae Whitman, she’s a firecracker. “The Duff” is my designated choice to go straight to the head of the class with 3 stars.

It’s a teenage comedy that you don’t have to be a teenager to full enjoy. You just have to recall the pain from your teenage years.

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