Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) / Comedy-Drama
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for thematic material and language
Running Time: 103 min.
Cast: Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, Jeffrey Jones, Jennifer Grey
Director: John Hughes
Screenplay: John Hughes
Review published July 26, 1997
Ferris Bueller (Broderick, WarGames) is a smart-ass know-it-all who decides to take the day off of school on a whim. He feigns illness, and also gets his girlfriend (Sara, Timecop) and best friend (Ruck, Speed) to play hooky with him. The suspicious Principal Rooney (Jones, Beetlejuice) is wise to Ferris' ploy, but needs proof, so he takes it upon himself to catch the wily Ferris in the act. The trio of kids borrow one of their parents' luxury sports-car and the trio of hook-sters go to town for fun.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off is another classic 80s John Hughes (Weird Science, The Breakfast Club) teen flick, and a cult favorite among many who were teens during the era. The film has a crazy energy and a certain charm that is unmistakable, but the contrived nature that permeates almost every scene, along with the high amount borrowed ideas and directorial styles, detracts from the overall production.
The cast is memorable, but the characters themselves are annoying and the film veers from slapstick to schmaltz in a way that doesn't always mesh. Like other high energy, frenetic comedies (Blues Brothers, Austin Powers), it's one of those films you either fall in love with and forgive the bad parts, or you're frustrated by due to it seeming to falter whenever it seems to finally hit its stride.
©1997 Vince Leo