image for DUFF, The

Short takes

Not recommended under 13; parental guidance strongly recommended 13-15 due to themes, sexual references and coarse language

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for DUFF, The
  • a review of DUFF, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 7 April 2015.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not suitable due to themes, sexual references and coarse language
Children 13-15 Parental guidance strongly recommended due to themes, sexual references and coarse language
Children 15 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: DUFF, The
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Sexual references and coarse language
Length: 101 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the 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 as though 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’s world is turned upside down at the revelation that she is the ‘DUFF’ of her friendship group - the Designated Ugly Fat Friend, or the person who is the least popular of any given 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 in which she will help him pass his school exams, whilst he teaches her how to escape the title of DUFF. The results are not quite what she is hoping for.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

High school relationships and friendships; stereotypes; bullying

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is limited violence within the film, including:

  • 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. Her father is then punched by Wesley.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

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

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also likely to be scared by the violence described above

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Nothing of concern

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

There is some product placement in the film, including:

  • Coca Cola
  • TV shows like Dr Phil and Gossip Girl, as well as movies including Titanic
  • YouTube, Facebook, Twitter
  • computer brands
  • car brands


Sexual references

There are some sexual references in the film, including:

  • In one scene, there is a description of oral sex during a discussion between Wesley and Bianca.
  • It is mentioned that Bianca had sex for the first time when she was 14 years old. She has been using birth control since then.
  • There is discussion of a time when Bianca has sex with a boy in her bedroom.
  • Reference to porn

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some partial nudity and sexual activity in the film, including:

  • Many characters in the film have sex, some with multiple partners.
  • A character has a pregnancy scare after she has sex with a boy and the condom that they use breaks.
  • Bianca “makes out” with a shop mannequin
  • Girls wear revealing outfits, including underwear

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in the film, including:

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

Coarse language

There is some use of coarse language in the film, including:

  • ‘fuck’, ‘bitch’, ‘shit’, ‘whore’, ‘slut’, ‘asshole’

In a nutshell

The DUFF is a funny and inspiring movie about flouting the social stereotypes that define and constrain people. It follows Bianca as she transforms from an individual who is crippled by the image of person she wants to be (someone who is popular, attractive, and liked by everyone) to the independent and intelligent person she really is. The film touches on issues such as social stereotyping and bullying, as well as the devastating impact that both of these may have upon the psychological wellbeing of young people. At the same time, the film shows that people can often transcend their original beliefs and grow as people.

Some parents may feel that the themes, sexual references and coarse language make the film unsuitable for under 15 year olds, but it raises a number of issues which other parents may wish to discuss with teenagers, so parental guidance is strongly recommended for children aged 13-15.  

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Not judging people from initial impressions.
  • Every person feels as though they are not attractive, or not good enough sometimes.
  • The importance of friends

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss:

  • Issues related to drug and alcohol use, as well as addiction and relapse after recovery.
  • Bullying and the destructive impact it may have.