Mae Whitman stars in The Duff, an upcoming movie for which you need to know two pertinent pieces of information:  first, it’s based on a book written by an author, Kody Keplinger, who was 17 at the time of publication; second, and the one you’ll hear most about, is that “Duff” stands for “Designated Ugly Fat Friend”.

The buzz here is “how can Mae Whitman be the Duff?” But, realistically speaking, let’s be honest. Mae Whitman is the dream for a whole lot of men and women, but somehow they’re never the types who seem to emerge in high school. That’s not to say they’re not there, because everyone has to go to high school, but they feel afraid to surface, which I suspect will be a point in the movie.

The first 20 pages of the book – all I’ve had time to knock back just yet – didn’t blow me away, but I’m sure the movie will move at a much quicker pace. I’m looking forward to it. I was about to write about the cast, other than Whitman, being semi-unknowns, and then I discovered that Bella Thorne was in Big Love, a show which I watched alone by my lonesome. Still, nobody else is a household name. So why do I feel uneasy?

Indie movie about the bullsh-t of high school beauty standards, awesome. Based on an irreverent bestselling book, fantastic. Maybe it’s this photo from Variety that’s giving me pause:

These women look older than I do! Are you kidding me? This is about the veracity of beauty in a high school movie? I get it, film festivals and promotions and whatnot but …you know? Maybe this isn’t the first image you release with your film?

Reserving judgment until I see the movie. Read the book while we wait and tell me what you think.