I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.
Cole Clay // Film Critic
In THE DUFF, “designated ugly fat friend” ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT star Mae Whitman plays the gatekeeper to her more popular and subjectively more attractive friends. This a horribly vapid notion to live by, but in a high school this type of cruelty probably isn’t that difficult to find. Luckily, the film articulates that this shallow and offensive concept is inherently wrong.
The film basically acts as a vehicle for Whitman to showcase her weird, cult-film loving “DUFF-ness,” and while she’s an unconventionally talented actress who tries to sell the hell out of this character, we settled into a slightly above average teen comedy.
With a likable cast of supporting characters, including the animated candor of Allison Janney (JUNO) and absurd wit of Ken Jeong (THE HANGOVER). Although this film has a message it’s trying to communicate to it’s audience, the film doesn’t quite transcend the genre like EASY A or MEAN GIRLS did a few years back.
THE DUFF has a visual style that places you in the lexicon of the teen psyche, with self-referential hashtags and slang. This isn’t the best teen comedy out there but it’s definitely not the genre’s worst.
THE DUFF opens tonight.