Wednesday, 8 April 2015

REVIEW - THE DUFF (ARI SANDEL)


If cinema is great escapism, then The DUFF offers among the most complete forms of escapism in cinematic history, since I largely couldn't wait to escape from it. In the near-annual tradition of trying to make fetch happen, another Mean Girls knock-off arrives in theatres, its transparent desperation and dependence worn on its cheap, tacky sleeves, lest any of us believe it to be a piece of any originality. The DUFF utterly would not exist without the dozens of high school films that have come before it, not merely for establishing the framework on which it is built but for actually providing the cultural and thematic exposition as well. How dreadfully sad that a film so insistent on spelling out every trite thought in its writers' heads can't even muster up the energy to spell out a coherent visual language, nor even intimate the suggestion of expensiveness. For a film whose relationship toward character labels is so complex / confused, its heavy reliance on said labels is contradictory to its own overblown notions of social intelligence. But, yes, ok, The DUFF did make me laugh... at times. It's not completely terrible, there's some satisfactory acting, and every now and then it drops its guard and reveals something peculiarly humorous for a film so grotesquely concerned with its appearance. But fetch is still just not happening, guys, and I'm sick to death of watching you try, try, try so fucking hard, every fucking year.