At the Movies: ''Ferris Bueller's Day Off''|
By BOB THOMAS, Associated Press Writer
Welcome again to John Hughesland, a mythical suburb where
the parents are well-meaning but stupid, teachers are
terminally dull and where the teen-agers are ingeniously
deceptive, talk dirty but only kiss, drink beer but don't use
This fantasyland reappears as "Ferris Bueller's Day
Off,"which Hughes wrote, directed an co-produced. He has
become almost a one-man industry, having weaved five films in
2 1/2 years from memories of his suburban Chicago childhood.
The others: "Sixteen Candles," "The Breakfast Club," "Weird
Science" and "Pretty in Pink" which Howard Deutsch directed.
With "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," Hughes lurches perilously
toward self-parody. The sight gags have grown bigger, but the
characters and the situations seem overly familiar. The
dialogue lacks the spontaneous sparkle that distinguished
"The Breakfast Club." Matthew Broderick is Ferris Bueller,
seemingly a goof-off but actually much smarter than his
earnest but self-absorbed parents (Lyman Ward and Cindy
Pickett). Only his tart-tongued sister (Jennifer Grey) sees
through his elaborate devices to avoid attending high school.
They include feigning a fever, planting an animated dummy in
his bed and playing groaning sounds on the hi-fi.
Ferris cons his parents but not the dean of students (Jeffrey
Jones), who tries to uncover the plot but only succeeds in
getting into one mess after another.
The day off fulfills the boy's fantasies, such as they are.
He convinces his pal Cameron (Alan Ruck) to steal his
father's classic Ferrari and springs his girlfriend (Mia
Sara) from school with the grandmother's funeral ruse. The
three musketeers speed off to Chicago for a spree climaxed by
Ferris's captivating thousands in a downtown street with his
rock singing atop a parade float.
With total self-confidence, Ferris can outsmart any adult,
including a haughty maitre d' at a posh restaurant (the
funniest scene in the movie). His resources are limitless,
and he peels off big bills like a Las Vegas high roller.
Trouble is, Matthew Broderick is far too intelligent an actor
to portray the mindless Bueller with total conviction.
Alan Ruck is something else. He has an angular body and the
long, dopey face of a silent-screen clown. As Broderick's
sometimes comatose buddy, he is the young find of the season,
destined for a brilliant career with proper handling.
Jennifer Grey also registers strongly, as does Charlie Sheen
as the doper she meets in a police station. The adults,
especially Jeffrey Jones as the hapless dean of students,
struggle bravely to escape from their cardboard roles.
Rated PG-13, mostly for language. Running time: 105 minutes.