Story

The Duff is an American teenage comedy that follows the story of Bianca Piper (Mae Whitman), an intelligent and charismatic teenage girl who feels that she has to conform to society’s ideal standards of beauty. Bianca and her two friends Jess (Skyler Samuels) and Casey (Bianca A Santos) are enjoying their senior year of high school when Bianca finds out that she is the DUFF of her friendship group. DUFF stands for Designated Ugly Fat Friend, or the person who is the least popular in any social group. She discovers this at a party when talking to Wes (Robbie Amell), her neighbour, former friend and star of the football team.

Desperate to change her social standing and go out on a date with her crush, Toby (Nick Eversman), Bianca strikes a deal with Wes. She agrees to help him pass his school exams and he will teach her how to escape the title of DUFF. The results are not quite what she is hoping for.

Themes

High school relationships and friendships; stereotypes; bullying

Violence

The DUFF has limited violence. Examples include the following:

  • Wesley throws a drink in Bianca’s face when they first meet and talk to one another. 
  • When Bianca’s father is drunk and in a rage one day, he hits her and swears at her. Wes punches him.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
Children in this age group are likely to be scared by the violence described above.

From 5-8
Children in this age group might be scared by the violence described above.

From 8-13
Nothing of concern

Over 13
Nothing of concern

Sexual references

The DUFF has some sexual references. For example:

  • In one scene, Wes and Bianca talk about oral sex.
  • Bianca had sex for the first time when she was 14 years old. She has been using birth control since then. 
  • Characters talk about a time when Bianca had sex with a boy in her bedroom.
  • There are references to porn.

    Alcohol, drugs and other substances

    The DUFF shows some use of substances. For example: 

    • Bianca’s father is a recovering alcoholic who relapses and begins to drink again.
    • Bianca talks about how boys who were stoned spoke with her in a club.
    • An underage boy sneaks beer into a club. 

    Nudity and sexual activity

    The DUFF has some partial nudity and sexual activity. For example:

    • Many characters in the movie have sex, some with several different partners.
    • A character has a pregnancy scare.
    • Bianca ‘makes out’ with a shop mannequin.
    • Girls wear revealing outfits, including underwear. 

    Product placement

    The DUFF has some product placement, including Coca Cola, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, computer brands and car brands. It also shows TV series like Dr Phil and Gossip Girl, as well as movies including Titanic.

    Coarse language

    The DUFF has some coarse language.

    Ideas to discuss with your children

    The DUFF is a funny and inspiring movie about flouting the social stereotypes that define and constrain people. Bianca is crippled by the thought that she has to be popular, attractive and liked by everyone. But she transforms when she allows herself to be the independent and intelligent person she really is.

    The movie touches on the impact that social stereotyping and bullying can have on young people’s psychological wellbeing. At the same time, the movie also shows that people can transcend stereotypes and grow as people.

    You might feel that the themes, sexual references and coarse language make this movie unsuitable for children under 15 years. It does, however, raise some issues worth talking about with teenagers, so we recommend parental guidance for children aged 13-15 years.

    Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include the following:

    • Don’t judge people on first impressions.
    • Everyone feels that they’re not attractive or good enough sometimes.
    • Friends are important.

    This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about:

    • alcohol and other drugs, as well as addiction and relapse after recovery
    • bullying and the destructive impact it can have.