In retrospect, perhaps it would have been better for Ferris Bueller to stay hidden away in Hollywood retirement. Perhaps when the classic ’80s troublemaker reappeared in a viral video last week — a teaser spot leading up to a Super Bowl ad for Honda — we should have realized no good could come of hauling out a movie icon to shill for the auto industry.
And now, as depressing as an early-bird special, the commercial has arrived long ahead of primetime. Inspired by but not reprising his Ferris role, Matthew Broderick shuffles through the commercial, halfheartedly repeating lines from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and finding himself in situations ripped from the 1986 John Hughes comedy. Once again, Broderick doesn’t want to work, so he fakes an illness and heads off on an adventure. When he says to the camera, like Ferris had more than 25 years ago, “One of the worst performances of my life, and he never doubted it for a second,” we can’t help feeling Mr. Broderick is trying to tell us all something that might not make Honda execs so happy.
Or perhaps the joke is on us. The Web has been abuzz for days about the ad and the extended version, available now on YouTube, will only ensure Ferris and Honda are part of the pop-culture conversation in the lead-up to Sunday’s Super Bowl ad blitz. Why the ad arrived so early, though, remains an open question.
We have many others. Is it true, as the automotive blog Jalopnik reported, that “Hangover” director Todd Phillips oversaw the effort, and if so, why is the whole thing not funnier? Why did Broderick play himself, rather than Ferris? Does Broderick really need the money? And what would Hughes, who passed away in 2009, say?
At the same time, it could be worse. The ad did deliver some amusing moments (a staring contest with a walrus, for example) and we never get tired of “Oh Yeah” by Yello. At the very least, the ad made for a far better reimagining of a beloved ’80s comedy than Billy Crystal’s short-form sequel last year to “When Harry Met Sally…” That viral video managed to be both unfunny and sacrilegious. At least Honda didn’t turn Ferris’ buddy Cameron into a vampire.
What did you think of the Ferris Bueller Super Bowl ad? Leave your comments below!