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Stars: Mae Whitman, Robbie Amell, Allison Janney, Ken Jeong, Bella Thorne, Nick Eversman, Bianca A Santos, Skyler Samuels

Director: Ari Sandel

There've been fewer US college romcoms of late, and the threadbare material on display here indicates that the vein may be close to being mined out for now.

Bianca (former child actress Whitman) is small, dumpy and very bright. She also has two hot friends (Santos, Samuels), so she is their DUFF (designated ugly fat friend), which seems not to be a term in general college use, but something the writers have invented.

Bianca, who has a 'motivator' divorcee mother (Janney, underused), has a crush on flop-haired, guitar-playing Toby (Eversman), but dares not talk to him, especially as she's the object of scorn by the school's queen bitch Madison (Thorne), who has her claws into the school's handsome top jock Wes (Amell), who is struggling with his science subjects, the passing of which is essential to his winning a sports scholarship.

Wes lives next door to Bianca, so a bargain is struck: she'll help him with his sciences if he'll show her how to get close to Toby.

Unfortunately, a (highly unlikely) scene at the local mall, where Bianca makes wild love to a mannequin doubling for Toby, is filmed by one of Madison's (bewilderingly ubiquitous) cronies and goes viral, making Bianca the laughing stock of the school.

Yes, we can all see where this is going, but there's not actually much fun getting there, with cardboard stereotypes completely lacking the flesh-and-blood warmth of reality that might bring us closer involvement. Performances are pretty OK, with Amell's laidback charm marking him out as a promising candidate for the higher echelons of upcoming younger leading men.

David Quinlan

USA 2015. UK Distributor: Entertainment One (Lionsgate/CBS Films). Colour (unspecified).
101 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 01 Apr 2015