9 Movies Like The Duff – Teen Movies Celebrating the Underdogs & Outcasts

Being a teenager is hard and high school can be a minefield of popularity contests. But as Movies Like The Duff tell us that it’s okay to be different and perhaps you just have to learn to embrace who you really are.

Mae Whitman (of Arrested Development and Parenthood fame) stars in this critically acclaimed movie as high schooler Bianca who discovers that she has been branded the DUFF – the Designated Ugly Fat Friend – within her clique of pretty, popular girls. Initially horrified and humiliated by the moniker, she does everything in her power to shed the cruel title before realizing that the label only holds as much power as you give it.

If you loved the film for its inspirational message of self-acceptance and the triumph of the underdog, here are 9 more Movies Like The Duff for the days when you need a little reminder to believe in yourself.

Movies Like The Duff



Easy A (2010)

Starring Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes and Dan Byrd

Emma Stone plays Olive Penderghast, a 17-year-old student who tells a little white lie that gets out of hand. In a bid to help her gay friend, she pretends to sleep with him, thus earning him a reputation as a stud and saving him from the school bullies. When other less-than-popular boys in school ask her to do the same for them, the deceit snowballs and she is soon labeled a “dirty skank” by the school’s queen bee and ostracized by her peers.

Why you should watch it:

If you love the strength of character displayed by the protagonists in Movies Like The Duff, you’ll definitely applaud Olive’s cool devil-may-care attitude in Easy A. Partially inspired by the classic fictional tale The Scarlet Letter, the film bucks the trend in its portrayal of the school outcast. Instead of cowering under the mean remarks of her bullies, Olive owns her reputation with an exaggerated effort at provocative clothing and the stitching of a red “A” to everything she wears. In her unusual reaction, the film highlights the effects of bullying but also the power in choosing not to be an emotional victim.

IMDB: 7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%

Watch Easy A in HD now!

Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

Starring Jon Heder, Efren Ramirez, Tina Majorino and Haylie Duff

Napoleon is a socially awkward 16-year-old whose favorite animal is a liger and who aspires to be a cage fighter. He is mercilessly bullied in school for his oddball ways but finds friendship in Pedro, a transfer student from Mexico, and Deb, an introverted girl who engages in a series of bizarre business ideas to raise money for college. When Pedro decides to run for class president against the most popular girl in school, Napoleon is determined to help him succeed.

Why you should watch it:

An unexpected runaway success, the indie film has developed a cult following for its quirky, offbeat humour and unorthodox characters. In crafting the exaggerated eccentricities of Napoleon, the film manages to celebrate his nonconformity, creating a surprisingly tender story that is as kind as it is funny. This is the one to pick in our list of Movies Like The Duff when you need to be reminded that our differences are what make us who we are.

IMDB: 6.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%

Watch Napoleon Dynamite in HD now!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

Starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller

15-year-old Charlie is starting out as a freshman at a new school after being discharged from a mental institution. As he struggles to recover from clinical depression, he is taken under the wings of two seniors, Sam and her stepbrother Patrick. Over the course of their friendship Charlie begins to open up to the world around him and more importantly, to himself.

Why you should watch it:

This is a moving coming-of-age story about the highs and lows of growing up that will resonate on some level with anyone who is experiencing or has been through high school. Based on a novel of the same name, the film was written and directed by the author himself, showcasing a stirring script that comprehends how adolescence is threaded with a delicate fragility even as it shouts a youthful illusion of invincibility. Movies Like The Duff show that we all have our battles, even if they lie beneath the surface and The Perks of Being a Wallflower admirably conveys that.

IMDB: 8.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%

Watch The Perks of Being a Wallflower in HD now!

Pretty In Pink (1986)

Starring Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer, Harry Dean Stanton and James Spader

High school senior Andie Walsh lives in a dingy part of town with her underemployed dad and is often bullied by the rich kids at school for being a misfit. When Blane, a wealthy, popular boy asks Andie out, she accepts and opens her heart only to find herself rejected by his friends who mock her with cruel taunts. Pressured by his social circle, Blane begins to distance himself from Andie despite their growing mutual attraction.

Why you should watch it:

A twist on the classic Cinderella tale, Pretty In Pink in a powerful commentary that highlights the painful invisible barriers imposed by social conventions and class differences wrapped in a tale of young love and romance. While it heads to an expected and clichéd ending, the lead actors do justice in their portrayal of adolescent torment and desperate desire to fit in and the heavy hesitation to break from the mould. 

IMDB: 6.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%

Watch Pretty in Pink in HD now!

Bandslam (2009)

Starring Aly Michalka, Vanessa Hudgens, Gaelan Connell and Lisa Kudrow

Will Burton is the awkward new kid at school who is trying to shed the emotional baggage of being bullied in his last school. A music enthusiast, he makes a connection with another music lover Sa5m (pronounced Sam) and together they form a band of like-minded misfits, hoping to participate in a huge talent competition, Bandslam.

Why you should watch it:

A heartwarming tale of growth and friendship, Bandslam is an entertaining flick about a little crew of underdogs who prove their worth. The soundtrack is catchy and you’ll be hard pressed not to bob along cheerfully to the musical talents of Michalka and Hudgens. This is the perfect movie in our list of Movies Like The Duff for a slumber party with friends.

IMDB: 6.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%

Watch Bandslam in HD now!

The Princess Diaries (2001)

Starring Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews

Klutzy, unattractive teenager Mia Thermopolis is the very definition of awkward. Unpopular in school, she shuns public speaking of any kind and spends her days trying to blend into the background. Things take an unexpected turn when Mia is visited by her grandmother, whom she has never met, and she finds out that she is in fact a princess and heir to the throne of Genovia, a small European country.

Why you should watch it:

The hilarious transformation of Anne Hathaway from a loud-mouthed, bespectacled klutz with a mop of untamable hair to a chic European princess is terrific fun, but more importantly, she shows us that who you are on the inside matters more than, and perhaps in spite of, what you look like on the outside. This movie is a lighthearted bit of frothy fun that is sure to brighten your day in our list of Movies Like The Duff.

IMDB: 6.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 47%

Watch The Princess Diaries in HD now!

Never Been Kissed (1999)

Starring Drew Barrymore, David Arquette and Michael Vartan

A nerdy copyeditor at a news agency, Josie, is ordered by her boss to go undercover at a high school to report on the real goings-on in the lives of teenagers. Having been a hopeless geek who was ruthlessly bullied when she was a student, Josie is terrified of the prospect of returning to school. Unfortunately, history looks set to repeat itself as Josie is one again rejected and taunted by the popular kids despite her renewed efforts to fit in.

Why you should watch it:

Drew Barrymore delivers a smooth performance as a young woman still haunted by the scars of her youth and made to confront the trauma again with seemingly little improvement on her second try. The movie makes a point when it shows how little it takes to turn this around, giving the audience pause to reflect on the absurdity of the rules for popularity. As always, you can count on Barrymore to leave a smile on your face with her bright, endearing execution of the role. 

IMDB: 6.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 57%

Watch Never Been Kissed in HD now!

Can’t Buy Me Love (1987)

Starring Patrick Dempsey and Amanda Peterson

Nerdy Ronald Miller is tired of being a self-described “leper” and determined to change his social standing at school. He strikes a deal with Cindy, a gorgeous cheerleader, offering to pay her $1,000 to pretend to be his girlfriend for a month and giving him a way in with the popular crowd. His plan appears to work, but can he keep up the duplicity and at what cost?

Why you should watch it:

Given the title, this shouldn’t be much of a spoiler, but as the movie progresses, we’ll see the swoon-worthy young Patrick Dempsey who plays the lead character Ronald, find out that despite the charade which fools the rest of the school, $1,000 can’t in fact, buy you love. Or true friends, or a winning personality – both of which he will need to evaluate in his quest to raise his social ranking. While slightly preachy in tone, the movie has its charming moments and is an enjoyable watch if you are looking for Movies Like The Duff.

IMDB: 6.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 48%

Watch Can’t Buy Me Love in HD now!

Teen Witch (1989)

Starring Robyn Lively, Dan Gauthier and Zelda Rubinstein

For the sweet but nerdy Louise Miller, high school has always been a living hell. Until one day, she meets the mysterious Madame Serena who tells her that she is a reincarnated witch. Suddenly discovering the magic in her, Louise realizes that she has the power to make all her dreams come true.

Why you should watch it:

Lauded as a cult classic for encapsulating all the cheesiness and camp of the 80s, Teen Witch is a jovial celebration of the music and fashion of the era. The adorable storyline is basically every insecure high schooler’s dream come true and a great deal of fun to watch unfold. If nothing else, Teen Witch is worth the watch just for the rap scene of “Top That” – possibly the most embarrassing rap song of all time.

In fact, watch it now.

IMDB: 6.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 43%

Watch Teen Witch in HD now!

What did you think of our Movies Like The Duff list?

Are there any other movies like The Duff?

Which was your favorite?

Let us know in the comments below!

Leave a Reply