A teenager in his last year of high school pretends to be sick to get out of going to school and ends up having a crazy day.
I can honestly say that after years of people acting surprised when I tell them I have never seen this movie and years of people telling me how good it is and how much of a classic it is… that I simply don’t get it. I feel like there must have been something that I missed. Perhaps some scenes where cut? Where there some references I didn’t get? What is it that makes this hardly adequate movie such a “classic”
First off the comedy in this movie is all over the place, the only entertaining bit being when Ferris breaks the fourth wall and talks to the camera directly. Beyond that the movie can’t decide if it wants to be a comedy set in a realistic world or a crazy over the top world. Crazy, over the top comedy can certainly be done, the Austin Powers movies are proof of that. Nothing has to make sense, the normal laws of the physical world don’t have to apply and its all fine because that’s the tone the movie sets. This film on the other hand has comedy like that while still seemingly trying to ground itself in a believable narrative, not to mention the tone destroying museum scene that comes out of left field.
Secondly, how am I supposed to enjoy a light hearted comedy when I can’t help but loathe the main character. Ferris is a total miscreant, a troublemaker with a personality that borders on the sociopathic. After skipping school (and bragging to the audience how easy it is to take advantage of his parents love for him) he proceeds to pester his “best friend” Cameron to come pick him up so he can be driven around. When Cameron tells him he is sick, does he react in the way a caring human would react and say something along the lines of “aww man, that sucks, feel better buddy”? No instead he continues to pester him until he gives in to his demands, and based off of Cameron’s reaction this is hardly the first time Ferris has done something like this. The movie proceeds with a deluge of near criminal acts perpetrated by Ferris all while dragging along Cameron as his accomplice. And sure, Ferris confides in us the audience, that he only wanted to spend time with his buddy before they went there separate ways for college. But does spending time together need to involve grand theft auto, stealing the reservation at a fancy restaurant and hijacking a parade float all to serve Ferris’s already bloated ego.
Honestly this movie almost seems to play as an extremely long episode of the twilight zone. Where the premise is that a young kid abuses some supernatural power to always come out on top no matter the circumstances. Others will always take the fall, his lies will always be believed and he will always do things just in the nick of time.
I don’t know if I will ever quite see what others see in this movie, and perhaps I am taking it too seriously, but by the time the credits finished rolling and Ferris is telling me the movie is over I was relieved. 4/10
Available on Netflix Instant streaming