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Movie Review

The DUFF

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for crude and sexual material throughout, some language and teen partying.

Reviewed by: Gabriel Mohler
CONTRIBUTOR—first time reviewer

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Teen Comedy Adaptation
Length:
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
2015
USA Release:
February 20, 2015 (wide—2,622 theaters)
DVD: June 9, 2015
Copyright, Lionsgate click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Lionsgate

young people labeling their peers

SELF-IMAGE—I’m ugly. Why was God so unfair to me this way? Answer

the important thing is not who people think you are, but rather who you really are inside

be kind to one another

GUIDELINES—What are the biblical guidelines for dating relationships? Answer

Teen Qs—Christian Answers® for teenagers
Teens—Have questions? Find answers in our popular TeenQs section. Get answers to your questions about life, dating and much more.
Featuring: Bella Thorne … Madison
Mae Whitman … Bianca
Robbie Amell … Wesley
Allison Janney … Actress
Skyler Samuels … Jess
Ken JeongActor
Bianca A. Santos … Casey
Romany Malco … Principal Buchanon
Agnes Mayasari … Cheerleader
Nick Eversman … Toby
Gabriela Fraile … Ashley
Chris Wylde … Mr. Fillmore
more »
Director: Ari Sandel
Producer: CBS Films
Vast Entertainment
Wonderland Sound and Vision
Distributor: Lionsgate

Unlike many other highschool comedies, “The DUFF” has a moral that just may be worth all the trashy content. The worldly perversion is definitely there, but stays within its PG-13 boundaries. In the end, you may walk away from this film valuably inspired. “DUFF” is an acronym standing for “Designated Fat Ugly Friend. According to the character Wesley, every group of friends has one, and if you don’t know who it is, it’s probably you.

Bianca Piper, a senior school student, finds out from her friend Wesley that she is the DUFF to her best friends. From there, things only seem to get worse, as she worries about who she is. In exchange for (honest) help with science class, Wesley trains Bianca in gaining respect. But it’s not easy, as she soon learns.

Refreshingly, the film portrays Madison in a negative light. Madison is a girl at the school who prides herself on being hot, flirts, and shows off. The movie clearly makes her an antagonist. However, teenage dating/kissing is prominent on the part of the protagonists, as well, so Christians who are opposed to these things may be offended.

There are several s-words, a few b-words, and one f-word. This film’s big issue is the crass sexual “humor.” In one scene, Wesley draws a non-sexual diagram in the shape of male private parts, which is, of course, not graphic but still obvious. For a few seconds, and not up close, a boy in a locker room is shown in thick underwear, with a bulge. There are a few scenes involving boyfriends and girlfriends lying down on each other, but always clothed.

The verbal sexual references include jokes about pornography and gross insults insults regarding private parts. Most of these are minor, but the few that stand out do stand out.

The film has a very specific moral: just because others think poorly of you isn’t an excuse to be a mediocre person. Another lesson is that being “hot” is not what makes a person respectable. Despite the perversion that many of the points are based in, it may be worth the watch (for more mature Christians), because of the inspiring and well-portrayed moral. Once again, it’s very sad that a movie with such a beautiful moral is close to being ruined by immorality. In the end, however, I’m glad I watched this movie, not only so I could review it, but because of the inspiring moral I walked away with.

Overall, the movie is also intriguing and sweet. Some Christians will be able to walk away from it, throw away the trashy stuff, and keep the valuable lesson with them. Others will be continually offended by the perversion. I can totally understand and respect either way. Therefore, instead of recommending the film or not, I’m just going to leave it up to your own discretion whether or not to watch it. I gave it a moral rating of “Average” because of how the significant moral balances with the perversion. For the perversion, the rating is quite high; for the moral, it is quite low. The bad news is that this film is no exception from the perversion in Hollywood. But the good news is that’s not worthless and the moral is true and solid.

Violence: Mild / Profanity: Moderate to heavy / Sex/Nudity: Moderate to heavy

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I went to this movie after reading the other two comments about it on this website. I was really worried but I had already promised two friends that I would go. IT WAS AMAZING!! There was a little too much swearing, but I had expected that. However, it was not as sexual as others had warned. If you went to a public highschool or have gone to college, then this is really not that bad. Even the kissing in this movie is mostly very PG.

There are a few scenes that the main character Bianca imagines in her head that may be a little too sexual (two people pressing bodies against each other and goofy heavy kissing… very unrealistic) for younger viewers. This movie was amazing and all the jokes in it were hilarious. No, the trailer did not show all the jokes, and there are many more to keep you laughing.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Sandra, age 19 (Canada)
Negative
Negative—The first few minutes of the movie set the tone… Crude, sexually suggestive, self deprecating, and cyber bullying. My husband and I kept hoping it would get better, but walked out after an hour. I would not let my high school children watch. It puts inappropriate thoughts and ideas in their minds. Lots of unnecessary vulgar language. Very disappointed!
—Wendy, age 37 (USA)
Negative—…I was shocked by all the sexual innuendo. I would not be happy to know my teenage kids had watched this…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Debbie, age 55 (USA)
Comments from young people
Negative—I went to this movie after it being recommended to me. I was expecting a really good funny comedy with a few innuendos spread through out. Had I known what I would be walking into, I would have never gone. The continual jokes of porn and sex were nothing less than disturbing. I spent the entire movie sitting there just praying that it got better, but it didn’t. From the opening line of the movie to the closing line were non stop crude and inappropriate jokes. I would NOT recommend this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Brooke, age 17 (Australia)
Negative— I was invited by some friends to go see this movie, and I thought it would be okay, based on the trailer. The trailer was very deceiving and was not at all what I thought the movie would be like. The first few minutes was full of sexual innuendos, and the language was very disrespectful and made my friend and I very uncomfortable.

It gave a false image of high school and seemed to say that you can only be cool if you ditch your friends, cuss every other word, party, cyber bully, and participate in sexual activities. About half way through it was so rotten that my friend and I decided that we didn't need to be having these images and language in our minds and walked out of the movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: none
—Tayz, age 15 (USA)
Negative—…This movie is very very offensive! Bianca (the DUFF) did sexual acts on a store dummy! There is constant sexual references, vulgar words, make out scenes, and was so disgusting I was literally gagging! I always said that “Mean Girls” and “Pitch Perfect” movies were absolutely disgusting and undignified, which they are, but compared to this they were more tame, but still offensive.

No parent would want their children or teens to see this. The sexual references in her were so explicit and distasteful. They talked about porn like it was no big thing! There were funny, sweet parts, but compared to the bad parts, they were VERY minimal. This movie is literally based on sexual arousement, not love! …
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Monica Vitale, age 18 (USA)
Positive—“The Duff” really makes you look at your life different. Now that I watched it, I think I am the duff in my group, but I’m okay with it now. I accept being a duff. Sometimes duffs are the better ones.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Akasha, age 11 (USA)
Movie Critics

…Alas, the film isn’t all that nice itself. It means well enough, but it slathers on a great deal of unnecessary sexual content… We’re all normal, the story says—as long as we’re willing to swear up a storm, party hearty and engage in heavy petting, that is. …
—Paul Asay, Plugged In

…Strong acting can't right topsy-turvy priorities in “The DUFF”… Cyberbullying plays a disturbing role…
—Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times

…It's no secret that high school kids can be vicious, but “The DUFF” is an all-too-real reminder of how difficult and truly awful those four years can be with today's high-tech weaponry. This story's commentary on cyber-bullying and its call for common decency is particularly timely, something that helps elevate The DUFF from your typical teen fare.
—Christa Banister, Crosswalk

…More a middle-of-the-road rom-com than a teen-spirit sendup, the pic weaves its lighthearted mix of silly and serious with increasingly heavy-handed spiels on self-esteem. …
—Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter

…It’s about looking beyond easy labels and popularity, cherishing true friends, realizing everyone may be the duff of some group and, most importantly, that only you can define yourself. …[3/4]
—Barbara Vancheri, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

…An adaptation of Kody Keplinger’s YA novel, “The DUFF” is exponentially dumb. …here’s nothing new or particularly enlightening being communicated about what it’s like to be a teen in these hypermediated times. … [1/5]
—Kimberley Jones, The Austin Chronicle

…While “The Duff” whiffs on the comedy front more often than it succeeds, it is eminently watchable and even a bit touching. …
—Lindsey Bahr, Associated Press

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