Friday, 16 November 2012

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

Ridiculous. Unrealistic. A world where all adults are idiots. A rose-tinted view of teenage abandon.

Simply Fantastic. If you come out of Ferris Bueller's Day Off feeling not even slightly more happy than when you went in then you're just plain broken inside.

Ferris (Matthew Broderick) can see that the end of his last year in school is fast approaching its end and feels the need to take one last day off and make the most of it. Enlisting the help of his smitten girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara) to break his depressed, listless friend Cameron (Alan Ruck) out of the self-pitying rut he's got himself into, the trio go on a day trip into Chicago in an attempt not to get caught.

Ferris and Cameron are the classic duo: the first is the confident and carefree type and the second the passsive worrier. Everyone knows a Ferris, or did in school at least. The Ferrises of the world just seem to be able to coast through life with everyone loving them and not a care in the world. They're the kind of guys who can come in from a thunderstorm dry as a bone and charm they're way past any security in their way. They'd do anything for a friend and they're exactly the sort of people that the Camerons of the world need to show them how beautiful life can be. Broderick is perfect as this sort of person. He has the charm and smoothness to get away with everything Ferris does, and doesn't cross the line into coming off as fake. You can believe that Ferris is really as good as a guy as he comes off to be. Hell, he's even got it 25 years later in this homage to the film.

It's one of the best highschool/teen comedies by far, and the quality shines through in the type of jokes it tells. It might be partly down to it being made in the 80s, but it's much cleaner than the teen comedies of today; it doesn't have to rely on the crutch of sex jokes or toilet humour. That's not to say Ferris and co are wholesome kids straight out of the 1950s, just that there's an air of youthful freedom that's enough to provide the humour.

Honestly, it's just great. Some critic described it as a "suicide prevention film". That seems a bit of a dark idea to bring into the mix, but it is apt. For the Camerons of the world, Ferris Bueller might just have the power and the clout to shake them out of their narrow world view and learn the films biggest lesson: Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

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