Teen coming-of-age high school based movies are a dime a dozen, so it needs to be something special to stand out in the crowd and this Mae Whitman starring film, The DUFF is one film that manages to do that.
Bianca (Mae Whitman) is a content high school senior whose world is shattered when she learns the student body refers to her as 'The DUFF' (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) to her prettier, more popular friends (Skyler Samuels & Bianca Santos). With her universe turned upside down, she ignores words of wisdom from her favorite teacher (Ken Jeong) and enlists Wesley (Robbie Amell), a slick but charming jock, to help set her apart from the pack and erase her label forever. In doing so, she hopes to land her crush Toby, and find the confidence to overthrow the school’s ruthless label maker Madison by reminding everyone that no matter what people look or act like, we are all someone’s DUFF... and that’s totally fine.
Mae Whitman (Parenthood TV series, voice of Tinkerbell) probably isn't what many would consider a leading lady but she does a fantastic job in this film as a very likable, personable character while her life long friend is played by Robbie Amell who also lights up the screen.
While all the actors are great in their roles we absolutely loved the faculty staff - Ken Jeong (The Hangover Trilogy) plays Mr Arthur, while Romany Malco (40 Year Old Virgin) plays Principal Buchanan. Credit must also go to Allison Janney who plays Bianca's mum and provides some of the biggest laughs through the film.
The Duff is a fun, teenage comedy that doesn't rely on overtly sexual jokes to capture your attention. With a great cast, great direction and a very likable lead in Mae Whitman this is a film worth checking out.
This film is presented on Blu-Ray in the film’s original 2.40:1 aspect ratio using the AVC MPEG-4 codec and it's a great looking film with natural colours and skin tones throughout with a razor sharp image and detail even in the darker scenes.
Besides the main audio track the disc also contains an Audio Description track for the Vision Impaired which is presented in a pretty average Dolby Digital 2.0 track at 224kbps. Descriptive Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired are also included on this disc and seemed accurate to the dialogue from our samples.
There are only a few extras on this disc, and very little of any real substance. Here's what to expect...
Gag Reel (3:13/HD): Seen one gag reel, seen them all really, fluffed lines, goofing around on set are all included.
The Duff - Sizzle (3:25/HD): A bit of a sizzle reel with brief interviews, or snippets really, from the actors as they head into the premiere of the film.
I Am The Duff (2:36/HD): Another brief extra that does little other than selling the film with plenty of clips from the film and interview snippets.
The Duff Files (6:58/HD): In this featurette the characters in the film are detailed. Not really much here as you get to know the characters in the film anyway. Characters covered include Bianca (1:09), Wesley (1:28), Jess & Casey (1:12), Madison (1:25), and The Faculty of Malloy High (1:44).
Pop Culture (1:59/HD): In this feature the filmmakers and actors talk about how the culture has changed in schools, but the idea of fitting in has never changed.
Review By: Dave Warner