‘The Duff’ spotlights up-and-coming stars

Sarah Beck, ‘Doah Staff Writer
March 18, 2015

It is hard for teenagers to find a juicy movie that relates to their age. The film, “The Duff,” had a mix of typical themes that most teenage movies do but also had new ideas to make it promising. With getting a 64 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie was not as overrated as it may have seemed in the trailers.

Mae Whitman, who plays Bianca Piper in this film, has a believably realistic performance. Her work is constantly raw and completely connectable to an audience member. Whitman is known for her other role as feminist, Mary Elizabeth, in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” Mary Elizabeth was a rather offensive, aggressive and boy-obsessive teen in the past film. To see the transition between her character as Bianca in “The Duff” is interesting to audience members who have seen her other performances. Her work is real and convincing throughout the movie. This underground actress has been climbing up the ladder in Hollywood in her short 26 years.

Another notable performance of “The Duff” was that of Allison Janney who plays Dottie, Bianca’s single mother. Janney is known for her more serious roles, such as when she played Charlotte in “the Help” and the rather judgemental Mrs. MacGuff in “Juno.” Now, she is playing Dottie Piper, who is a rather humorous mother that dealt with depression from when her husband left her. A scene that made her a lovable absurd character was when she was found in her yard with a glass of white wine in her hand, running over her husband’s clothes with a lawnmower. She then became a motivational speaker about dealing with her depression. She constantly tries to give advice to her daughter about dating and boys, but it never goes well.

There was one performance that was unappealing, and that was of Bella Thorne. Thorne is known for her roles in the rather annoying Disney Channel show, “Shake It Up,” and other insanely stupid Disney Channel movies. Thorne is actually one of the only actors in this movie to be a teenager, yet she manages to screw her whole character up. If she’s in high school, she would have the best memory of what it is like during this time in life and correlate it to her acting. She generates her lines and obviously interprets them like she has prepared them in her head. Thorne never fully commits to her character or her fate throughout the movie. She might have a pretty face, but she does not have the acting chops for this character.

“The Duff” proved to be a thought out movie about cyber-bullying with commendable acting for the majority of the film. This is one that you would not have to necessarily go out to see in the theatres and could just wait to see when it comes out on DVD because there aren’t too many interesting artistic film choices that are done. The quality of it would not be better on the big screen; it would probably remain the same. Otherwise, this movie was very well done thanks to Mae Whitman and other talented actors.

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