Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is the kind of movie which you wouldn’t get away with making anymore. The world is too cynical and too jaded to believe the events and actions which takes place in the film could actually occur, or at least suspend their disbelief long enough to actually enjoy. Luckily, Bueller’s day occurred during the eighties, when teenagers (who are clearly in their twenties) were the smartest generation and could achieve anything!
John Hughes at the absolute height of his directorial and writing success sees a character who now only works when being played by Ryan Reynolds in a red jumpsuit. Before Deadpool was deemed “original” for breaking the fourth wall, Matthew Broderick’s Ferris Bueller was doing exactly that and imparting clever, pithy lessons on life, dodging school and having the best day ever. Bueller is who every kid wants to be in school or at least wished they knew. He of course doesn’t actually exist in any point, anywhere in real life but for this film he is the perfect guide on a bizarre journey.
That journey is an ever-increasing, always funny adventure in how to skip-school in the best way ever. From scamming their way into fine dining establishments through to leading a giant sing-along at a parade in the middle of Chicago, the movie escalates and does so well with the adventure becoming more and more incredible but entertaining as it does.
While all this is occurring there is a great secondary story as well. Jeffrey Jones is the School Principal who is determined to catch Bueller once and for all. His own slapstick adventure has some great moments itself and manages to match the “main-story” for laughs and interest.
There is a heart to the events as well. Alan Ruck’s Cameron is a directionless worrier who is coming to terms with his absent parents. It is a message which has some merit and does offer something akin to therapy to the actions of Bueller rather than just pure mayhem. It can sometimes be slightly jarring amongst the random moments and sillier scenes but does have a deeper level of emotion if you are willing and desire to find it.
The silliness wins out eventually though and there are moments which tip the movie over the edge. Once a classic scene involving a Ferrari has occurred, the movie races to a random and nonsensical ending. It becomes a weird chase movie that doesn’t work quite as well as what has gone before, although the final moments are satisfying as a conclusion.
Overall, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is rightly deemed as a classic. It is a comedy which captures the best of Hughes and the eighties while delivering one of cinema’s most appealing characters. It is funny, clever and heartfelt at times. Just leave your cynicism at the door.
Rating – 4
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