Now, I admit. I was nervous. And totally excited because I adored The DUFF when I first read it in 2010 and I'm just a huge fan of Kody as a person and author. The fact that her book and characters would be on the big screen made me both excited and proud. I was also a little bit nervous because I was bringing my 19-year old brother along, who was on break from college at University of Michigan. I wrangle him into all kinds of things, but this was something I wasn't 100% sure about. I mean, the trailer makes The DUFF look like a chick flick; I wasn't sure about the guy appeal. I loved the book, so I had that to latch on to, even if I didn't end up liking the movie, but he had no prior attachments. But, hey, I made him watch Pitch Perfect once and he thought it was funny, so I figured it was worth a shot.
After checking in and exploring the touristy parts of Novi - and by that I mean their huge mall - we arrived to the theater 30 minutes early. We approached the ticket desk, ending up behind two teen guys who were also attending the early screening. They were talking about how excited they were, which I think made my brother feel better. Okay, so it made me feel better about bringing my brother along.
Even though we were early, there were already lots of people in the theater. We found our seats, which were reserved and made us feel super fancy. And me a little awkward because I'm a major introvert when it comes to non-bookish things and oh, hey, there's my name in ALL CAPS.
|My brother, Jacob, in our fancy schmancy reserved seats.|
I was amazed by how diverse the audience was. There were definitely lots of teens there, but there were lots of older viewers there too. People who I wouldn't necessarily pegged as the target audience. I wondered if maybe I should have asked my grandmother if she was up for a road trip... I'm kind of kidding, but also not, as you'll find out later in this post. I'm not entirely sure how people ended up with tickets and/or invites to this particular pre-screening, but I was super curious to see how everyone would react. I tried to sneakily take pictures of the audience. I was neither that sneaky, nor that good a photographer.
|Viewers in front of us.|
|Viewers in back of us.|
The pre-screening was hosted by someone. I'm not really sure what her name was, but I think she was a (fashion?) blogger from Chicago. She introduced the movie and said that she hoped it would bring on a new surge of good teen movies, like Never Been Kissed, 10 Things I Hate About You, Mean Girls, etc. I completely agreed with her; those are the movies that I find myself rewatching, partially out of nostalgia, partially because they're funny.
And then it began. Rather quickly I might add because, at a pre-screening, there are no other movie trailers.
And, guess what? I loved it. My brother loved it. It seemed like a vast majority of the audience loved it. It was seriously funny, smart, and, though it wasn't exactly like the book it still had the same heart. And, largely, the same message. Also, when Kody made a quick cameo, I may have exclaimed a bit more loudly than appropriate, "That's Kody!" and pointed wildly at the screen.
Of course, the plot was changed slightly. There were also things about each character that were changed. For example, I've been seeing comments about the fact that it looks like they pretty much failed at making Mae Whitman into a DUFF. Guys! That's the point. There is no DUFF. Or, rather, we're all DUFFs. You can argue either way. That's one of the things that Bianca, other characters, and YOU are supposed to learn by the end of the book/movie. Basically - and I don't think this is a spoiler to mention this - Bianca's biggest flaw in the movie is that she's really messy. Which, as you might know, is different from the book, in which she compulsively folds clothes to feel a sense of control and calm. It's possible Movie Bianca had never folded clothes in her entire life. Another pretty big change is that there really isn't a focus on slut shaming or sexuality because there isn't any sex in the movie. Which I was okay with, because that would have made The DUFF into an entirely different type of movie and it's totally okay that it wasn't that movie.
So yes, things are going to be different than the book. But that's okay! I encourage fans of Kody Keplinger and the book The DUFF to see this film. And I encourage those who are interested in the movie to read the book too! It was interesting to see what changed between the two. And to appreciate both for what they are and what they are not. Kody's book, to me, is heavier. It deals with some really serious themes. I think it's important and a really well-done novel. On the other hand, the movie is lighter. It's funny, clever, and seriously entertaining. Simply put, it made me happy - I could not stop smiling - and I can't wait to see it again.
And I think some other viewers felt the same way. As I heard while eavesdropping on two older women in the audience:
Lady A: "Well, what did you think?"
Lady B: "I loved it! I'm a DUFF!"
Big shout out to New Leaf Literary who made it possible for me to attend these early screening! And my coworkers at Brilliant Books for swapping schedules so I could have a couple days off.
And make time to read The DUFF this year! Stay tuned for more details about a group re-read that will be happening soon. The movie will officially open in theaters February 20th.
Find more info here: