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Ari Sandel
Mae Whitman, Robbie Amell, Bella Thorne, Ken Jeong, Allison Janney
Writing Credits:
Josh A. Cagan

You either know one, you have one, or you are one.

A high school senior instigates a social pecking order revolution after finding out that she has been labeled the DUFF - Designated Ugly Fat Friend - by her prettier, more popular counterparts. MPAA:
Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 101 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 6/9/2015

• “The DUFF Hits the Red Carpet” Featurette
• “Bringing the Book to Life” Featurette
• “Teen Comedies and The DUFF” Featurette
• “I Am The DUFF” Featurette
• “The DUFF Files” Featurettes
• Extended Gag Reel
• Previews
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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The DUFF [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 11, 2015)

Fans of The Simpsons might expect 2015’s The DUFF to be about fictional beer companies. Instead, the film takes us to the vicious world of high school cliques and politics.

We meet three high school friends. Peers view Jess Harris (Skyler Samuels) and Casey Cordero (Bianca A. Santos) as hot and popular, whereas their pal Bianca Piper (Mae Whitman) ends up as “the other one”. She pines for sensitive artiste Toby Tucker (Nick Eversman) and finds herself tormented by the school’s “popular couple”, Wesley Rush (Robbie Amell) and Madison Morgan (Bella Thorne).

At a party, Wesley reveals to Bianca that she’s a “DUFF”: a “Designated Ugly Fat Friend” who gets to hang out with more appealing people so the latter look better. After a bout of denial, Bianca recognizes her DUFF status and unfriends Casey and Jess out of anger.

Desperate to shed her DUFFness and also get a date with Toby, Bianca makes a deal with Wesley. He needs to pass science, so she’ll tutor him if he “reverse-DUFFs” her. We follow their partnership and related developments.

Gee, you don’t suppose sparks might ignite between Bianca and Wesley? I can’t call this a spoiler, as the movie telegraphs this probable development early, especially since it tells us the two were childhood pals. That seems like a cheat, as the story may have been more intriguing if it didn’t give the characters that background. Our knowledge of their prior bond makes it easier for us to buy their shift from teen foes to lovers – heck, we expect it even more than otherwise might’ve been the case.

Despite that, DUFF proves to be reasonably entertaining. Of course, it wears its teen comedy influences on its sleeve, as we see aspects of its many forebears reflected across its 101 minutes. Because of this, DUFF can struggle to find its own identity.

I’m not sure it ever succeeds, but it provides enough light charm to minimize its flaws. It helps that DUFF offers a pretty good cast. In addition to rock-solid adults like Allison Janney and Ken Jeong, Whitman and Amell carry the effort well. Both show nice comedic chops and we buy the easy chemistry between them. Like the movie itself, those actors can remind us a little too much of others – Whitman and Amell remind me a lot of Janeane Garofalo and Tom Cruise, respectively – but they still manage to create engaging performances.

Honestly, I find it tough to cite anything that The DUFF does especially well, and it can swoon under the weight of its derivative nature. Nonetheless, it delivers a likable tale with some humor, so it becomes a breezy little flick.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus D+

The DUFF appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Expect a good transfer here.

Overall, sharpness came across well. Only light instances of softness occurred, as the image was usually accurate and concise. Jagged edges and moiré effects failed to appear, and edge haloes also didn’t become a factor. No print flaws marred the presentation.

We got a pretty standard palette here, with a mild teal tint on display. That’s typical for modern movies, and the hues looked positive within the moderate stylistic constraints. Blacks were dark and deep, and shadows seemed smooth and concise. I felt pleased with this positive presentation.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of DUFF, it gave us the kind of low-key mix I’d anticipate from a character-based comedy. Any instances of a broad soundscape were modest at best. A few minor elements opened up the track but those remained infrequent. Instead, the film offered decent stereo spread to the music along with gentle ambience. It didn’t sizzle, but it suited the material.

Audio quality was satisfactory. Speech always came across as accurate and distinctive, without edginess or other concerns. Music seemed warm and full, and effects provided concise elements, with solid low-end when appropriate. This was a perfectly competent track for a flick of this sort.

A minor collection of extras ensues. The DUFF Hits the Red Carpet goes for three minutes, 30 seconds and takes us to the movie’s premiere. We hear comments from director Ari Sandel and actors Nick Eversman, Bianca Santos, Skyler Samuels, Mae Whitman, Ken Jeong, Chris Wylde, Bella Thorne, Romany Malco, Robbie Amell and Allison Janney. They give us happy talk about the film and little else.

Three short pieces follow. We find Bringing the Book to Life (2:15), Teen Comedies and The DUFF (2:04), and I Am The DUFF (2:42). Across these, we hear from Sandel, Whitman, Jeong, Samuels, Santos, Janney, Amell, Malco, author Kody Keplinger and producer McG. We learn about the source novel and its adaptation, cast and performances, influences, and story/characters. A few minor notes emerge here, but these featurettes tend to be vague and fluffy.

Under The DUFF Files, we see clips for “Bianca”, “Wesley”, “Madison”, “Jess and Casey” and ‘the Faculty of Malloy High”. All together, they fill seven minutes, 21 seconds and feature Whitman, Santos, Samuels, Sandel, Amell, Thorne, Malco, and Jeong. They tell us a little about the characters – very little, unfortunately, so this ends up as another superficial compilation.

An Extended Gag Reel goes for three minutes, 15 seconds. It mixes outtakes from the film with goofy press interview asides. That makes this a more interesting reel than most, but not by a lot.

The disc starts with ads for The Divergent Series: Insurgent, Spare Parts, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, What If and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. No trailer for The DUFF appears here.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of The DUFF. It includes all the same extras as the Blu-ray.

Though predictable, The DUFF offers a reasonably charming teen rom-com. Despite its lack of originality, its leads carry it and make it a likable experience. The Blu-ray offers generally good picture and audio as well as some forgettable bonus materials. DUFF turns into a cute flick.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.75 Stars Number of Votes: 4
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