Based on the novel by Kody Keplinger, The Duff tells the story of Bianca (Mae Whitman), a high school senior, as she finds out she’s ‘The DUFF’ (aka Designated Ugly Fat Friend) of her group of supermodel-looking friends. In response, she turns to the most popular guy in school for some help raising her social status. The movie then follows Bianca through the ups and downs of life, love and friendship, and – as per usual with teenage comedy movies like The Duff – there are some youthfully inspirational messages of self-worth and identity.
Personally, I’ve always found teenage comedy movies like The Duff to have something special about them… no matter how long ago I graduated high school. For 90 minutes, The Duff took me back to the trials and tribulations of young adulthood. But it isn’t the only movie that has made me feel this way. Here’s my list of 10 Movies like The Duff that left me feeling more than a little nostalgic for cramped school cafeterias and noisy hallways.
Selection Criteria of List:
- Main character must learn an emotional lesson.
- The movie has to feature at least one love story, but it does not need to be the main theme.
- There must be an epic party (prom counts).
- Happy endings are a must, even if they are a little bittersweet.
- Selections are in no particular order.
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1. 10 Things I Hate About You
Two sisters – one popular on the social scene, the other an introverted loner – navigate the world of high school dating in this classic teenage comedy movie. Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) and Kat (Julia Stiles) live with their overprotective father, who makes the rule that neither of the girls can date until they both do – knowing that Kat, his bookish older daughter, has no interest in boys. But, the girls have other plans. When bad boy Patrick (Heath Ledger) asks Kat out on a date, dramedy ensues. An emotional rollercoaster gives the girls a ride to remember, helping them both grow emotionally, much like Bianca in The Duff.
2. Sixteen Candles
It sucks when your older sister’s wedding weekend falls on your birthday. It’s even worse when it’s your ‘Sweet Sixteen.’ Samantha (Molly Ringwald) starts the day without a single well-wish, and if her family’s lack of attention is bad, the fact that Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling) doesn’t know her name is worse. He’s the most popular guy in school, and the object of her desire. Samantha struggles through the day, trying to make the best of every awkward situation that’s thrown her way. Like Bianca in The Duff, Samantha rides out the embarrassment, and it leaves viewers with a classic movie ending that’ll give most people a sense of hope. Definitely a must-watch for anyone in search of teenage comedy movies like The Duff.
3. John Tucker Must Die
Teen comedy movies like The Duff and John Tucker Must Die remind us that there’s always at least one ‘player’ in every school. He’s a star athlete, all the guys want to be him, and all the girls want him, and at this high school it’s John Tucker (Jesse Metcalfe). When his current three girlfriends, played by Ashanti, Sophia Bush and Arielle Kebbel, meet new girl, Kate (Brittany Snow), she convinces them not to fight, and the foursome begin to plan their revenge on the cheating liar. Antics ensue, true friendships are realized, and everyone, including John, learns a lesson.
4. Easy A
Rumor mills are a key variant in any high school, so when good girl, Olive (Emma Stone), does her friend a solid and pretends to have wild sex at a party, the whole school is talking. So, there’s no harm in her using her newfound infamy for the good of her wallet, right? Easy A takes a modern look at the classic story of The Scarlet Letter, and teaches lessons about gossip and slut shaming in a hilarious way. Easy A is one of the more recent teen comedy movies like The Duff that’s worthy of your time.
5. Can’t Buy Me Love
The 80’s was an amazing decade for iconic teenage comedy movies like The Duff. Can’t Buy Me Love doesn’t get nearly enough credit for switching the roles. Most films in the genre feature teenage girls fawning over a guy, but Can’t Buy Me Love flips the script. Ronald (Patrick Dempsey) is kind of a nerd. He watches Cindy Mancini (Amanda Peterson) from afar, but he has no shot. That is, until she owes him a favor. He cashes in with one request – Cindy has to pretend to be his girlfriend. Suddenly, Ronald’s popularity skyrockets, and it goes straight to his head. But, a scheme like this has to blow up at some point, right?
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