The Duff – Everything That It Seems

Who doesn’t love a good coming of age film? The turmoil of the years bridging the metamorphosis of child to adult are perfect fodder for drama and comedy: embarrassing moments, cliques and belonging, awkward romances, and of course fighting against the powers that be. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing characters going through the harrowing times of teenage hood and coming back victorious and changed. The Duff delivers on all of this, but honestly there isn’t much new here. The acting, casting and dialogue were entertaining and sharp, and the addition of the influence on social media on belonging and shaming was fresh. The usual teen tropes were played with as well – the “hot” girl was still the bully – but the other “hot” girls were intelligent, and contributed more than just having a pretty face. And indeed the entire premise of the film – the typical coming of age formula but as experienced by the sidekick (think a female Duckie from Sixteen Candles)  – seems new, but really it is the same ole formula. Perhaps I am too old, and have seen too many of these movies. And perhaps I unfairly compare all new coming of age films to movies such as Heathers, The Breakfast Club  and even the more recent Easy A, but I would have to say that this film isn’t as great as it could be. I feel it never captured truly how awful the teen years can be. It seemed to skirt the issue of belonging and never got serious enough to make you worry for the main character. I always knew things would turn out ok for her. And why? Because it is the same plot of the other hundreds of teen movies out there. I recommend this film if you want to watch something mellow and neutral on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

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