Rating: PG-13, for crude and sexual material throughout, some language and teen partying.
Based on Kody Keplinger’s YA novel of the same name, this high school romantic comedy upends the notions of cliques, hierarchies and labels. The material may seem familiar to many young viewers, but even if you or your children haven’t read the book, you’ll all recognize the settings and social challenges. Mae Whitman is completely adorable as Bianca, a smart, funny high school senior who discovers she’s the DUFF — or Designated Ugly Fat Friend — to her two gorgeous and glamorous best pals. As she struggles to make over her image, she must navigate the school’s mean girl, the emo boy she adores, and her lifelong next-door neighbor and friend, who happens to be the school’s hunky football captain. There’s a lot of candid discussion about kissing and sex, much of which takes place during an embarrassing video of Bianca that goes viral. Bianca also imagines herself in passionate make-out sessions in a couple of dream sequences. The film’s message of self-worth is extremely worthwhile, though. OK for tweens and up.