Written by: John Hughes
Starring: Matthew Broderick, Mia Sara, Alan Ruck, Jennifer Grey, Jeffrey Jones
Some people just have a knack for getting away with everything in life. Whether it comes with a certain set of skills or natural charisma, something about them allows them to skate through life. While this may be aggravating for those who work hard for their accomplishments, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off allows us to indulge with a mostly lovable character spurred on by a fun lead performance.
Hoping to have a fun day off from school in downtown Chicago, Ferris Bueller fakes being sick and then coaxes his friend Cameron (Alan Ruck) to join in while also getting his girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara) out of school. As their escapade in the city goes on they try to avoid running into Ferris’s father while Vice Principal Ed (Jeffrey Jones) tries to prove Ferris has been lying about his sickness.
Known for its fourth-wall breaks and moments of absurdity, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off doesn’t offer much in the form of meaning to latch onto other than providing broad entertainment and it certainly succeeded greatly in achieving its goal. With loads of fun in nearly every sequence, this film has John Hughes operating at a high level as a director as much as it serves as an accomplishment in writing. He establishes the mystique of Ferris Bueller as a character and follows it up by delivering in making him someone who can get away with plenty and still remains extremely likable as a character.
Hughes has incredible talent in creating these characters because on the surface Ferris can be seen as the bad guy of this story. He pushes his friend to limits they’re not comfortable with including taking his father’s vehicle and skipping school while also getting his girlfriend to leave early by lying about her grandmother’s passing. In a way, Vice Principal Ed stands in the right with how he feels about trying to get Bueller but he certainly crosses a line. He makes the cogent point of stating Bueller makes other kids misbehave just like him, which the evidence bears when getting Cameron and Sloane to go with him on these adventures in Chicago instead of going to school. In a sense, he’s doing the same thing to impressionable youngsters watching the movie by showing them ways to pretend to be sick to get out of school along with his other shenanigans.
Everything occurring when in Chicago demonstrates this film operating at its height with its most iconic scenes and montages occurring. From the posing in the art museum and Bueller leading the parade, it all contains kinetic energy to add to the fun this film seeks to employ. It culminates in everything that makes Bueller a legend in the eyes of his fellow peers to the point where they just make things up about him like how we would donate his eyes if he were to ever die. Pure elation in the finest form, which then transitions to the race to get back home creating a wonderful climax overall.
As a character, Bueller remains fairly static with the main emotional arc coming from Cameron. A hypochondriac and generally always nervous as compared to Bueller, the growth he demonstrates from beginning to end shows him taking responsibility for his actions in a meaningful way and taking charge in his life. He justifiably spends most of the film in fear of damaging his father’s expensive car and while Bueller’s methods tend to be pushy, their friendship provides a moment of growth for him.
It has become quite difficult to see Matthew Broderick play any other role after his star-making role as Ferris Bueller. He simply owns this character to the point where it’s hard to imagine anyone else taking the reins. It makes me admire him for taking on the role he did in Election where he essentially becomes Vice Principal Ed in his own way. He has so much charisma in this role thus further proving what makes this character so stinking likable despite the moments where he does display some fairly selfish tendencies. It all comes as part of the fun to go on this ride.
Filled to the brim with so many moments of fun from the call pretending to be Sloane’s father and the sprint to get home before his mother does, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off deserves its teen classic status. It has so much fun with the simple premise of skipping school for a day of fun. Absurdist humor comes to play and ultimately makes for such an entertaining movie from the mind of John Hughes.