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Ferris Bueller's Day Off

One of the most innocent movies in a long time, this sweet, warm-hearted comedy is about a teenager who skips school to help his best friend win some self-respect. The therapy he has in mind includes a day's visit to Chicago's Sears Tower, Art Institute, Board of Trade, parade down Dearborn Street, architectural landmarks, and a game at Wrigley Field.

Ferris (Broderick) is a bright senior from the North Shore who fakes illness so he can spend a day in town with his girlfriend, Sloane (Sara) and his best friend, Cameron (Ruck). He talks Cameron into borrowing his dad's restored Ferrari, a car the father shows more love for than he does for Cameron.

Then the trio explore the Loop, including a German-American parade in which Ferris jumps onto a float, grabs a microphone, and sings, "Twist and Shout," with the marching band backing him up. The three visit a fancy restaurant for lunch, gaze in awe at Art Institute masterpieces, and then go to Wrigley Field, where, of course, they are late and have to take box seats far back in the left-field corner. (The movie gets that detail right; it would be too much to hope that they could arrive in the third inning and find seats in the bleachers.) In one great, dizzying moment, they go to the top of the Sears Tower, and pressing their foreheads against the glass, look straight down at the little specks far below, and begin to talk about their lives. Thus does the buried theme of the movie arise: Ferris wants to help Cameron's self-respect despite his father's materialism.

Ferris preaches: "Life goes by so fast that if you don't stop and look around, you might miss it." Cameron explains how his dad has cherished and restored the red Ferrari and given it a place of honor in his life - a place denied to Cameron.((Here, adults are strange, distant creatures who love their teenagers, but completely fail to understand them. All the adults, including a bumbling high-school dean (Jones), are dim-witted and the movie's solutions to Cameron's problems are simple, but the film's heart is in the right place.
Director(s): John Hughes
Writer(s): John Hughes
Cast: Matthew Broderick, Mia Sara, Alan Ruck
Release Date: 1986   
Keyword: High school; alienated teenagers; Chicago; hope
Target Age: 13+   Category: institutional issues
Documentary: no
Language: English   Reviewer's Name: Micah
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