Classic Movie Review: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

July 11, 2011 in Best Of, Movie Reviews, Reviews by pacejmiller

Thanks to the dozens of readers who expressed their disbelief that it did not make my most rewatchable movies list (and that I had never seen it), I finally went out and obtained myself a copy of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

It’s not easy watching a film as beloved as Ferris for the first time.  When everyone you know (and don’t know) rave about it, it’s natural to have inflated, unrealistic expectations.  So I did my best to keep an open mind and approach it from a neutral position.

For those who have been living under a rock since 1986 (like me), Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) is the coolest kid in school whom everybody loves — except for his sister (Jennifer Grey) and the dean of students (Jeffrey Jones), who is out expose Ferris as a truant and a bad role model for other kids.  The film takes place over a single, perfect day, as Ferris and his neglected best friend (Alan Ruck) and girlfriend (Mia Sara) skip school and go on a wacky adventure across Chicago, getting into all sorts of crazy mischief but somehow always managing to evade disaster at the last minute.

It’s the type of fun, joyful, carefree, sweet, heart-warming, coming-of-age comedy that John Hughes (RIP) is synonymous with, bursting with life, spirit and a truckload of heart.  They don’t make movies like this any more (last year’s Easy A was a homage to Hughes’s 80s flicks and had several Ferris references — but it just wasn’t the same).

Having now watched it twice within a week, I can say without reservation that Ferrs is indeed an undoubted classic that is highly capable of and deserves multiple re-viewings.  And watching the film for the first time 25 years after it was initially released, I also received plenty of unexpected surprises and shocks.

For starters, the Matthew Broderick I knew was the wimpy one married to Sarah Jessica Parker, but as Ferris Bueller he is utterly dashing, charming and affable.  The Alan Ruck I knew was the Spin City head, but he’s never been better here as the baby-faced best friend who steals the show at various times.  And Mia Sara?  Jennifer Grey?  Charlie freaking Sheen (as a drugged out delinquent, no less!)?  I had a big smile on my face all throughout the 103-minute running time.

I’ll be watching it again.  And again.  And again.

5 stars out of 5!