Yes, I am really going to review a commercial since this two-and-a-half-minute Super Bowl ad is the closest we’ll (hopefully) get to a Ferris Bueller sequel. If our pop-culture icons are sacred, most of us who were teens in the ‘80s worshiped most fervently at the altar of Ferris. Whatever it says about our generation’s spoiled sense of entitlement, he was our James Dean. Not even Lloyd Dobler could touch his cool.
So news of a Honda commercial featuring Matthew Broderick reprising his role in the 1986 film made me a little bit giddy and healthy bit worried. Who does Ferris grow up to be? I don’t think I could bear watching him skip a day of mind-numbing middle management to relive the glory days of his youth.
The ad is out today, and Honda dodges that question by having Broderick play himself. He wakes up in a hotel on a day too beautiful to be spent shooting a movie. His much-less-involved plot to fool his agent easily works, and he has the valet pull his CR-V around. Not quite as challenging as liberating your girlfriend from school in a borrowed convertible, but it’s harder being a high-school kid than an A-list actor.
There are plenty of make-you-smile-big moments—the valet calling “Broderick…Broderick…” in his best Ben Stein monotone, the “SO CHOICE” license plate, a Natural History Museum montage with close-ups of a walrus, and Broderick singing Chinese in a dragon parade.
Where it fails, though, is that not only is his middle-age ruse so much simpler to pull off, he spends the day alone. With nary a cameo to be had—I kept waiting for Alan Ruck—his day at the amusement park, the museum, the race track feels a little sad in comparison with the hard-won joie vivre of the original. And the fact that he’s driving around in a CR-V alone instead of a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California with his girl and his friend is a definite move downward.
It’s a clever idea with plenty of nods to the original without really sullying its legacy. But Ferris would have had a much better day with all of Broderick’s resources at his disposal. He would have at least brought Charlie Sheen along for the ride.
Watch it below: