Ferris Bueller’s Sad Semi-Return

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Jan. 30 2012 12:45 PM

The Ferris Bueller Ad Is Even Worse Than Expected

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Matthew Broderick in a new Honda commercial.

On Friday, I mentioned that a Ferris Bueller-related ad of some kind had been teased online, and that Jalopnik had reported that the ad would be for Honda. I expressed my dismay that this might be the case—but sharp commenter Sihaya pointed out that the Volkswagen ad “The Force” was “better than the Star Wars prequels,” and suggested that maybe this Honda ad would similarly do justice to a beloved cinematic icon.

Your mileage may vary, as they say, but the ad below is actually worse than I expected. Broderick plays himself, evoking Bueller without ever using his name. Ferris Bueller allusions abound, but tend toward the ham-handed (a valet saying “Broderick… Broderick…” à la Ben Stein is probably the worst of a mostly weak bunch). The spot was directed by Todd Phillips, but surprisingly (or not), it looks just like any other car commercial.

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What I take to be a Sarah Jessica Parker voiceover cameo is a nice touch, and I like the existential crisis in the middle (prompted by a stuffed walrus, for some reason, rather than a pointillist painting)—but the latter moment is poignant mostly because this commercial should, in fact, prompt an existential crisis for Broderick. Similarly, when he describes his fake-coughing in the ad’s opening as “one of the worst performances of my career,” well, it sounds like more than a quote from the film Honda is mercilessly mooching from.

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.

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