The modern teenager's obsession with sharing, uploading, liking and 'RTing' is the source of some of the funnier moments, such as Bianca's tearful 'Social Media Breakup' with her best friends. Even the prickly subject of cyber bullying is humorously well handled, with beleaguered Principal Buchanan (Romany Malco) lamenting that modern high school is "like a prison yard." If The Duff does have a selling point, it's the exceedingly appealing Whitman. Her on-screen warmth and awkward charm give her the manner of a young Tina Fey, and the verbal jousting with co-star Arnell turns a potentially one dimensional role into something that most should find relatable (surely the ambition of any movie of this type). The adult cast have little to do other than look beleaguered by the teens in their care, although Alison Janney steals certain scenes as Bianca's career-focused mother. The plot may not stand out from the crowd in the manner of a Mean Girls(2004) but, given the depth to which the 'ugly girl' comedies can sink - lest we forget the abominable The Hottie and The Nottie (2008) - this is a heartfelt and charismatic teen movie that gives a platform to a promising young talent.
James Luxford | @JLFilm