FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF

(1986)
With Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, Jeffrey Jones, Jennifer Grey
Directed by John Hughes
Reviewed by JB

      How long can one person sustain a career on pure boyish charm?  Matthew Broderick, who has gone from teen idol to King of Broadway, has been doing it ever since WARGAMES in 1984.  FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF was Broderick's breakthrough film, and despite a great supporting cast, Broderick is this movie, and it is hard to imagine FERRIS BUELLER having any similar impact without him.

     Whereas the films John Hughes made with Molly Ringwald were about teen angst, FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF is about the fun of being a teen.  Young Ferris has a yen to spend at least one day doing something else besides going to school, and he convinces his girlfriend (Mia Sara) and his uptight chum (Alan Ruck) into joining him.  His adventures are sometimes mundane - going to a ballgame, having lunch in a fancy restaurant - but what matters is that Ferris is enjoying life to the fullest, and trying to make sure his pals enjoy it too because it goes by so fast.  His running commentary, directed at us throughout the film, never feels like a cheap gimmick because Broderick is so convincing and likable in the role, he feels like a personal friend.  Jeffrey Jones, as asinine principal Ed Rooney, is the perfect foil for Broderick's teen hero, and Ben Stein has a small but instantly classic turn as an dull-as-toast Economics teacher ("Anyone?... Anyone?").

     Along with fully establishing Broderick as a movie star, FBDO also put the Beatles "Twist and Shout" back on the charts in 1986, which was fine by me.  ½ - JB

Teen Comedy     The Stuff You Gotta Watch


FRIENDS FOREVER:  In the short-lived 1990 television version of FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF, a pre-Friends Jennifer Aniston played the role of Ferris's sister.

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