‘The DUFF’ Review: Sweet, Hysterical Teen Comedy is This Decade’s ‘Mean Girls’

Far from the carnival of cruelty implied by its titular acronym, “The DUFF,” or “Designated Ugly Fat Friend,” is a generous, uproarious, and crazy-charming teen comedy that celebrates the unpredictable and idiosyncratic humanity of its characters. Once upon a time, intones high-school senior Bianca (Mae Whitman), there was the jock, the geek, the princess, the bully, and the basket case. But that was the ’80s. Labels don’t matter now.

At least that’s what Bianca believes until her meathead next-door neighbor, Wesley (Robbie Amell), brands her the DUFF of her beyond-gorgeous best friends (Skyler Samuels and Bianca A. Santos). Suddenly she notices, in one of the film’s best observations, that standing next to her friends makes her invisible, not just to her fellow students, but also to teachers and administrators. (Growing up doesn’t necessarily mean becoming a better or less superficial person.)

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