DAM: Thoughts on the Advanced Screening of The DUFF

Alright, guys. I just got back from seeing an advanced screening of The DUFF. I was SO excited, because I love the novel and the trailer showed some promise, though I wasn’t without reservations. Unfortunately, this was a DAM (Designated Awkward Movie).

Let’s talk about the movie on its own first, which is pretty easy to do since I have forgotten a lot of the novel. The DUFF IS funny. It got a lot of laughs. In fact, what’s fun about advance screenings is that people can be a bit more overt and talkative, not to a disruptive level but to a degree where it feels more playful and more like a communal experience. People had a good time certainly and were laughing. I’m glad that I saw it once, though I probably would have been less thrilled to have paid full price to see it in a theater.

Once. As in, I’m not sure if I ever want to watch this movie again. The problem is that The DUFF film is basically 95% awkward humor. Really fucking awkward. I don’t know about you guys, but I react to awkward films much the same way I do horror movies, by sliding down in my seat, cringing, and clinging desperately to something (in this case my jacket). I was not alone in this. There were a lot “oh my god”s from the audience. Seriously, SO awkward.

gif duff sorry

Most of that was intentional, and I’m sure that sort of humor must really work for some viewers, since movies with it keep getting made. Whether the people who enjoy that kind of humor are the people who would want to see this movie I do not know. Sometimes, though, the audience was not feeling what we maybe should have been feeling. The first kiss scene, for example, I’m guessing was meant to be swoony and set that ship a-sailing. It didn’t. In fact, several people went “No!” as it happened and disgruntled sounds occurred.

Ultimately, the ship ends up kind of sort of okay, but also not as good as it was in the book. The problem here is the addition of the mostly useless mean girl character, Madison, played by Bella Thorne. She serves as an obstacle between Wesley and Bianca, jealous even before Bianca and Wesley had any interest in one another. When the ship finally sets sail, View Spoiler » That’s not exactly the ideal shipping environment. After the initial scenes, Bianca and Wesley are pretty cute together and I can get behind their dynamic in general, but I think it could have been done much more effectively.

gif The DUFF abs

Now, the book. The DUFF movie bears only the most passing of resemblances to the book. Bianca and Wesley are pretty much the same, but the messages and tone are not. The trailer suggested that Wesley and Bianca were not going to start up a casual sexual relationship as they did in the book, and they did not. There was one cute kissing moment that didn’t make Bianca out to be totally inexperienced, but she’s not the Bianca of the book using Wesley for sex. That’s such a huge difference, considering that the movie removes the sex positive messages of the novel entirely. For me, those messages are a big part of what I love about Kody Keplinger novels.

It’s been a while, so I don’t remember the book particularly well. I don’t think, however, that Bianca became a figure of public ridicule in front of the entire school, as happens in the film. Bianca’s pretty much a hot mess throughout the whole film until the scene where it all comes together and she triumphantly marches into Homecoming all made up. Again, not sure about the book, but there’s very slight reference to Wesley’s family issues as well as Bianca’s, but definitely no resolution.

gif duff shrug

The Duff movie ends up feeling like the less talented child of Mean Girls, She’s All That, and Never Been Kissed. If that’s what you want, cool. If you’re hoping for something like the book, you’re going to be disappointed. I’m planning to reread the book as soon as I finish my current read, and I might do another post, depending on how many thoughts I have.


gif you can feel the awkward

14 responses to “DAM: Thoughts on the Advanced Screening of The DUFF”

  1. Bekka says:

    Noooo. I am NOT a fan of this kind of humor. I hate watching people embarrass themselves. It’s not funny to me; all it does is make me extremely uncomfortable.

    I think I’ll wait for the DVD release to see this one, even though I was really excited. Mostly, I was excited for the sex positivity that was in the book and if that didn’t get translated to the movie, that’s a real disappointment and missed opportunity.
    Bekka recently posted…Book Review: Through the WoodsMy Profile

  2. Ohhhhhhhhhhh 🙁

    The trailer was sooo awesome, hopefully I’ll still love the book.
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  3. I’m hesitant about watching the movie… I remember almost everything from the book -which I absolutely loved. I feel like the messages about sex and family in this book are so important and I don’t think I can deal with the fact that they’re left out.

    They pretty much changed the entire book for the movie and only kept character’s names? That’s what I get from the trailer and storylines/reviews I’ve seen.

    Although I think the main actor in this is SO goodlooking, I don’t know whether I’ll be watching the movie. It’s okay and fun to make a romantic movie that’s awkward -although I would constantly cringe too- but then don’t say it’s based on a book…
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  4. Rebecca says:

    Sorry you didn’t love it! I could already tell the movie was going to be so different from the book, but knowing that, I’m still up for a fun, light-hearted movie, which I hope is what I’ll get from it.

    I actually like awkwardness because I am awkward myself, so I find I relate. But sometimes it really doesn’t translate well and instead of finding it amusing, it feels awkward. Very interested to watch it and see what I think of it. Thanks for sharing!
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  5. meghann m. says:

    oh noes…. not awkwardness! This makes me sooo uncomfortable. I can’t even watch reality TV competitions because I can’t handle people getting sent home or performing badly. :/ I just picked up the book and plan to read before seeing the movie. *puts rant pants on*
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  6. Paulina says:

    I’m interested to see the movie because of comparisons with Mean Girls, as is the character of Bella Thorne? There are chances of becoming a cult classic?

    • Christina Franke says:

      Honestly? I sort of doubt that. I don’t think it’s as funny and quotable as Mean Girls, and it’s a lot more awkward. Plus, it’s more technology-focused, which means the references and stuff are going to date it really quickly. Who knows, though. Maybe.


    I didn’t LOVE the book, but that was so long ago now that I think I’d appreciate it a bit more if I read it again. Now to see if I can find my copy… I have a horrible feeling that I gave it away.
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  8. I haven’t read the book but when I saw the trailer, I was like “oh no” because it did not look good to me at all. It’s really based on opinions because a lot of my friends saw the trailer too and they’re all excited. I just don’t… like movies like this. I’m surprised I even like Mean Girls, to be honest.

    When I watched the trailer, I didn’t really get an awkward feel but man, awkward humor sucks. Like it isn’t even funny. It just makes me want to close my eyes and shut the movie off.

    This is a great review and I love how there are no spoilers <3
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  9. Ugh, I hate awkward humor. It makes my skin crawl and I end up wanting to hide somewhere.I haven’t read the book, but since the movie is the sort I avoid I’ll keep it on my TBR.
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  10. Oh noes :(. Yeah, I’d been seeing a lot of concern about whether or not the movie was going to keep the sex positive tone of the novel, and a lot of criticism on Bianca walking into the ball all made up, where it’s another lesson for girls that they must change to obtain the guy, etc. Is the latter something that happens? You’ve mentioned that Bianca’s a hot mess until the ball, but does it give you that feeling of TRANSFORMATION IS A MUST, girls? I kind of had a feeling that they weren’t going to use the book’s depiction of Wesley and Bianca because they wanted to reach a larger audience and I’m not sure most of the United States could “take” the idea of a girl so in charge of her own sexuality without spewing names, as addressed in the book.
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  11. Angie F. says:

    I was totally excited about this movie until I read the blurb, then I went noooo! And it sounds like it deviates pretty far from the book, except for character names, which is a shame! There are a lot of good messages in the book that would totally translate well to film! Why?!?!?

    And I really struggle with humor in general, especially the awkward kind, which just makes me feel awkward rather than making me laugh. I definitely won’t be paying to see this movie. I might still borrow it or watch it on HBO or something. Maybe.
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