Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.
But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.
Description taken from Goodreads.
Last week, I talked about how much I disliked reading THE DUFF. The story just didn’t work for me, the writing felt choppy and everything just went wrong. I wasn’t a fan of the execution of the story at all, even if I liked the premise and the journey through which Bianca and Wesley grow closer.
I decided to go watch the movie today because the trailer looked really different from the book. Normally, I hate it when the movie deviates from the book–even though I know that, realistically, I can’t expect the movie to be the same thing in real-life form. With this movie, I was relieved that the movie was nothing like the book, and I actually ended up enjoying it a lot.
For those of you who liked this story, and those of you who didn’t, here’s some of what remained the same and what changed:
Bianca keeps her sass. I didn’t love how her only defense against Wesley was throwing whatever happened to be in her hand or in front of him at the time at him, such as food, drinks, etc., but it didn’t really matter because Bianca. She’s cynical, straight-forward and downright rude sometimes in THE DUFF book, which a lot of people appreciated, including me. In the movie though, she’s toned down a little bit so that she’s funny without being a complete day-ruiner.
The movie is hilarious in ways that the book version isn’t. I know some people won’t think it’s funny, but for kids in high school especially, I feel like Bianca epitomizes what teens and people in general don’t really want to seen doing. I mean–she starts off her entrance with a burp worthy of two cans of soda. There’s a handful of great lines, and hey, Ken Jeong. That’s a good sign.
The movie is a lot less sexual. I guess this is should be a given, considering it’s a PG-13 movie, but I was really happy to see that the humor wasn’t the only thing that got turned down a little bit. For any people who worried about that for any reason, I’m here to reassure you that this movie is straight up PG-13, not anything in the vein of PG-13 *rolls eyes* Just Go With It with Jennifer Aniston.
Bianca and Wesley basically trade roles. In the story, Bianca starts hooking up with Wesley because she’s upset with the way that her family is falling apart. Her mom leaves and her dad is falling back into alcoholism, and the cherry on top of everything else is Wesley’s DUFF term. In the movie, Wesley’s parents are the ones who are falling apart–and Bianca’s mom and dad are already divorced. Bianca’s mom is also a motivational speaker, grief consultant and therapist of sorts. There’s no mention of Bianca’s dad at all except for five seconds in the beginning of the movie.
Honestly, I had mixed feelings about this. Considering the fact that the only thing I really liked about THE DUFF was the way that Wesley came to know about Bianca and they came to care about each other through the tragedy, I was a little miffed that things didn’t go down that route at all. However, the main thing I disliked about THE DUFF was the way Bianca started kissing Wesley first to distract herself, and then completely blocked him out, and then did it again, and again, and again, and blocked him out still.
Two things that stuck with me that I didn’t like about THE DUFF: cheesiness and the bullying aspect. There’s nothing pretty about Wesley and Bianca’s situations in the book THE DUFF. The whole point of their relationship is getting through all the stuff they’re going through together. It’s a long, arduous, painful process.
If the book THE DUFF is long and painful and real in ways that I could appreciate it for, then the movie THE DUFF watches and concludes like a Disney original film. I’m talking High School Musical, Let It Shine, Lemonade Mouth, you catch my drift. Chick flick and all.
Then there’s the bullying. I’m glad it’s there, believe me. We need media that addresses issues like these, and has people face up to them. Disney movie, like I said. The thing is: I really didn’t feel at all that this movie actually addressed the issue. It felt like more of a plot point than anything else, and I hate when things like rape, disease, grief and bullying are used for plot points to make things dramatic.
The bullying in the movie THE DUFF doesn’t feel raw enough. We see some of how it impacts Bianca, but the only result that comes of it is that the principal takes everyone’s phones away and her friend takes the video off the internet. Problems don’t get solved this way.
I’m glad that the teachers did something about the problem, but, as all high schoolers know, your teacher can only take your phone away until the school day ends. Bullying doesn’t magically go away because the evidence goes away, or the phones get taken. I wasn’t in love with the end result, but I do realize it’s a movie.
A few others things change, such as the fact that Bianca is now Wesley’s next-door neighbor, but they’re fairly minor. All in all, I did really enjoy this movie, and I liked it a lot more than the book. The pace goes faster than the book as well. If you’re looking for another Mean Girls, forget it. There’s only one Mean Girls. However, if you need something to laugh it–whether or not you read the book–I would recommend watching THE DUFF (or Cinderella. Heard Cinderella’s good too :D).