BOOK OR MOVIE | The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend

I’ve been seeing lots of trailers and posters for The DUFF (good online marketing there, especially on Facebook), but didn’t know it was based a book until I joined Goodreads. A lot of movies nowadays are based on books, or comics, which are books essentially (Marvel I’m looking at you), and so with that comes the question, which one is better, the movie or the book? I’ve decided to make this a new series on the blog, since it’s like, two reviews rolled into one, talk about efficiency am I right? ^______^

So, these types of reviews are probably flooded with spoilers, so if that’s not your cup of tea, STOP READING NOW OR YOU’RE GONNA HATE ME FOREVER.
I did read the book first, and although I don’t really wanna admit it, I did enjoy it. It’s kind of predictable, but the language was quite sharp at times, and it was definitely a fast-paced entertaining read.
Okay, let’s talk details.
Our protagonist, Bianca, she’s funny, smart and cynical – although this is not really demonstrated well, apart from the fact that her best friend keeps on emphasising it. She’s not the prettiest girl, but that doesn’t really bother her. Things aren’t going well with her family, and she decides that sleeping with the infamous school man-whore Wesley Rush would be a good distraction – what?
I kind of get Bianca in a way, we’ve all made irrational decisions at times, and come to regret it later. Bianca is just kind of hypocritical I guess, like a lot of teenagers out there. At the time, she can be really selfish. With both her friends and her family issues, she did not deal with them well at all. In fact, for the most part, she just avoided the problems altogether.

We don’t know much about Wesley Rush, since this is a first-person narrative, with Bianca being the narrator. Okay that’s a lie, we know that he’s tall, dark and handsome. And a massive dick at times. Oh, and he’s a man-whore, Bianca’s words not mine. He started off as Bianca’s sex toy – again, her words not mine – but because he was the only person that was aware of Bianca’s problems, he started caring about her, a lot more than they both thought was possible at the beginning I think.

Bianca’s friendship with Casey and Jessica, they had an interesting dynamic, although at parts of the books I was exasperated, but it was reasonably realistic.

Okay I think that’s all I’m going to say about the book, hopefully I didn’t give away too much!

I watched the movie a few days after I read book, so it was still fresh in my mind.

The casting was a bit off imo, and while Mae Whitman’s portrayal of Bianca was funny in its own rights, it was very different from the book. In fact, apart from the characters’ names and the title, the movie’s nothing like the book.

I understand that the movie couldn’t be as graphic as the book, considering its target audience is probably young adults, and if the movie were to be rated R18+, or even MA15+, it would lose a large chunk of viewers. But that doesn’t mean it had to neglect the storyline altogether, and pretty much write up an entirely new screenplay, which was the case here.

If the book plot seemed unoriginal, the movie version is literally based on a formula that’s been seen again and again, with all the clichés thrown in too. Unpopular girl crushes on guitar playing boy, seeks help from popular jock for a makeover and in return, tutors popular jock so that he can stay in the football team. Bitchy girlfriend of popular jock gets jealous and sabotages unpopular girl, bluhbluhbluh, popular jock declares his love for unpopular girl at a school dance, THE END. Sound familiar? Mmmmm, I think so.

It may sound like I hated the movie, but if I didn’t know it was supposedly based on a book I’d definitely like it a lot better. None of the characters were similar enough to the book version for me to even comparing them, for example, book Bianca never blamed Jess and Casey for “making” her their DUFF, and even after Wesley told her that she could easily find a new group of friends and not be seen as the DUFF anymore, she saw their friendship’s worth as much more than that, an idea that was completely obliterated in the movie.

The movie also ignored the more serious side of the book, with Bianca and Wesley’s family problems, which I thought was the key point to the development of their relationship.

So the million dollar question remains, the book or the movie? I’m going to pick the book for this one. That being said, if you’re in the mood for a light-hearted high school comedy, just don’t expect the movie to be anything like the book and you’ll love it!

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