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The DUFF Movie Review: Hilarious Yet Different Than the Books

Back in January, my awesome friend Danielle hooked me up with pre-screening tickets to see The DUFF movie! I’m very happy to share my thoughts and feels with you here.

The DUFF movie is not what I thought….

The DUFF Movie Review: Hilarious Yet Different Than the Books

The Duff movie review book kody keplinger

As a Movie

The Good

If I hadn’t read The Duff, I’m not sure I would have seen this movie in theaters (on TV? Yes. Netflix? Sign me Up). This decision would be mainly because it’s like a modern-day spin of She’s All That (Freddie Prince Jr., where’d you go???).

There’s no “bet” involved, but a hot guy making a girl cuter is not a new concept. That alone would have put me off.

BUT – I have to tell you, I’m so glad I saw this movie! The DUFF is laugh-out-loud funny.

And by LOL funny, I mean it’s hilarious in unpredictable, new ways. Some movies rely on the tried-and-true funny situational humor that we’ve all seen before (think of TV sitcoms), but The DUFF was great because the humor was mainly based on Bianca’s sass.

And THAT is a beautiful, snarky and witty thing. Mae Whitman was PERFECT as Bianca. LOVED HER SO MUCH.

The So-So

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that teen movies – no matter how good – will be at least a little bit cheesy.

In The DUFF, that came in the form of viral social media and hip slang. Oh and ridiculous mean girls. I mean, did you guys know you can make something go viral by saying “Viral? Viral….” BOOM, broke the Internet. Ugh.

The one big thing I’m upset they took out is Bianca’s friendships. They are missing a lot from the movie, and I wish they had not made that change.

Not too bad on the negatives, right?!

As a Book Adaption

WARNING! I go into some depth about how the book and movie were different, which means if you want anything to be a surprise SKIP TO THE BOTTOM NOW!

I think it’s important to talk about the The DUFF book to movie transition first.

I read this fairly recently (August 2014), so the content is still fresh in my head. I went into the screening knowing from the previews that the movie is MUCH different than the book.

That being said, I still loved the movie. The core and heart of the book were taken and used as an outline for the story, filling it in with different details, characters and plot.

These basic elements were added:

  • Wesley trying to un-DUFF Bianca
  • The mean girl Madison
  • Viral videos and bullying
  • A lack of sex (this movie is PG-13 people)
  • Biana’s mom/home life (no dad in the picture at all)
  • Bestie fights
  • Toby’s personality

You guys…that’s a lot of additions.

But, I have to say I was honestly super impressed at how got Biana’s sassy attitude and funny internal dialogue AND the concept of how being called a DUFF affected her was spot on.

Even though SO MANY things were changed about the book, somehow I really feel like the integrity of the story was in tact. I think this is because it’s a YA contemporary book and not a fantasy or dystopia that this was possible.

There is a lot less “world-building” in contemporary because well…if it’s a present-day story, we already know the world. So, if those details are changed, then we still have a frame of reference. There is less love of the details of YA contemporary books compared to fantasy – or at least in this book in particular.

I’m SO interested to see how other DUFF fans will like this movie.


Despite being far and away different from the book, The DUFF movie did a great job of keeping the spirit of the book alive. The movie was funny, sweet, romantic and well-cast. I enjoyed myself so much, and – the true movie test – I would see it again in a heartbeat. I definitely recommend going to see The DUF in theaters.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • I’m excited to see this despite all of the changes made. It does kind of bug me that they felt the need to even make changes. This book/story was SO GOOD and would make a great movie without all of the additions.

    • I totally agree. It was so strange to see random things changed – like Bianca’s dad and friends, but I was so happy to see that they kept the spirit of The DUFF alive 🙂 I hope you enjoy it!

  • Sugar & Snark

    Great review! I can’t wait to watch the movie!

  • Great post! I’m definitely adding this to both my to-see and TBR lists 🙂 Thanks!

  • So I didn’t really like the book to begin with. I had a few issues. That being said, I am so, so unhappy about the changes. I guess I hate it when a girl feels she has to change who she is and then the hot guy doesn’t realize how much he loves her until AFTER her miraculous transformation. Ugh. In the book, Bianca didn’t like being a DUFF but at least she wasn’t trying to change herself. I am glad you enjoyed it though.

    • That’s a great point – and I’m not sure why they let the plot fall into that predictable cliche of nerdy/frumpy girl becomes beautiful and is now desirable, etc.

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