Picks and Pans Review: Ferris Bueller's Day Off

UPDATED 06/23/1986 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 06/23/1986 at 01:00 AM EDT

After the credits roll at the end of John Hughes's comedy, Matthew Broderick appears in his bathrobe to address the audience. "You're still here?" he says with surprise. "Go on—go home." It's an original moment yet symptomatic of what's wrong with the latest teen feature from adolescent-obsessed writer-director Hughes. He's so determined to amuse an audience, he won't even let people exit in peace. The plot pivots on an archetypal kid's fantasy: getting away with playing hooky. As etched by the talented Broderick, the title character is a suburban Tom Sawyer. Looking for action and company on this impromptu holiday, he bamboozles his best pal, Alan Ruck, who makes a fascinatingly neurotic Huck Finn. Broderick also enlists his girlfriend, Mia Sara, cast as a bland Becky Thatcher. But on a day that Broderick describes as a watershed, Hughes merely takes him on a routine tour of Chicago landmarks. In fact Broderick is upstaged by his director. In search of a solid laugh, Hughes detours the plot, chucks characters arbitrarily and even includes a gratuitous rendition of Twist and Shout performed by everyday citizens of Chicago. Watching Ferris Bueller is like going to a party given by a pushy, overzealous host. You can't really have a very good time when the party giver is constantly insisting that you enjoy yourself. (PG-13)

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