Evan Wessman (CinematicInceptions)
Of the John Hughes films I've seen, this is probably the worst. It tries to have some slightly deep messages like Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Planes Trains and Automobiles, but kind of falls short. It was entertaining much of the time, but some of the more off color stuff like the gags involving Long Duk Dong failed to be amusing. As they go, John Hughes is great when it comes to making off color jokes that don't completely turn off certain audience members, but I guess he was still working on it at this point.The story centers around a character that deserves sympathy, but complains a lot about it. Not that she doesn't deserve to complain, but it just makes her a little less likable as a character. Certainly it's an accurate portrayal of sixteen year old girls with Sam's polarized emotions and evident insecurity about her appearance. In some ways, this makes Jake Dyer a less realistic character. I think the point of his character was to show that it's okay for teenage guys to have a heart. However, this results in the story becoming something like the inverse of the cliché where the loser guy ends up with the dream girl (examples include but are not limited to Spiderman, Transformers, Alladin). It's an unfortunate thing, but I do not see any real-life 18 year old's making the same decision that Jake does. I suppose this accounts for the presence of the Geek/Farmer Ted, who I'm sure more of the male presence in the audience relate to.The plot has more layers to it than the usual comedy, but is not at all hard to follow. What is a little surprising is how passive Samantha is in context of the plot. After all, she doesn't go to Jake's party, which is a pretty big part of the story. I can't think of one thing she does to motivate the eventual concluding scene. I suppose her one quality that makes her deserve the rewards of her suffering is her honesty. She's not that shy about her feelings for Jake, but never acts on them exactly.Despite some of its other flaws, it is consistently amusing with jokes surrounding the Geek, Samantha's dysfunctional family, Joan and John Cusaks' characters, and the general awkwardness of being in high school. It has a similar feel to Breakfast Club because of the actors, but the comedy is much more situational here, whereas it's more verbal in Breakfast Club. There are some classic lines in Sixteen Candles too, but not that many.If you like John Hughes or the Brat Pack, this should satisfy, though it's not his or their best. Don't let the PG rating fool you into thinking it's a family-friendly movie, especially if Ferris Bueller does not fit that standard either. By modern ratings, it would be a fairly high PG-13. Also I'll warn you that it does not take place over one day. I was expecting this and it kind of worsened the experience. Finally, I will add that the portrayal of Long Duk Dong could easily come off as offensive to the Chinese exchange student stereotype. But if none of that deters you, give it a shot. Overall Rating: 7.6/10.
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