John Hughes made several masterpieces back in the day but Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is something a rare beast when compared all the teen comedies that were released at the time.
It wasn’t crass like Porky’s, didn’t focus on sex or drugs like Fast Times at Ridgemont High, broke the fourth wall constantly, and told a pure-hearted story about friendship and living life to the fullest. Most of this works because of titular character, who is arguably the most charismatic film character we’ve ever seen on the big screen, and the many iconic Chicago landmarks that were integrated into the story.
Now there are a few minor plot issues in the film, chief among which is how Ferris manages to fund his day off. Let’s recap: he treats Cameron and Sloane to lunch at an upscale restaurant, gets great seats at a baseball game, bums around at a classy museum, and presumably a bunch of other things we didn’t see.
Even if we take into account his parents’ wealth (they live in a super nice house and his room is filled with gadgets), there’s no realistic way does he’ll have the kind of dosh to fund such a luxurious day off.
As it turns out, this little plot hole is explained in a deleted scene from the original script but it also shines a darker light on Ferris’ character.
The deleted scene comes just before Ferris goes to Cameron’s house and involves him chatting to his dad over the phone. As the conversation goes on, Ferris manages to get his dad to reveal the location of where a bunch of savings bonds are hidden. Yup, Ferris was only able to fund his day off because he ripped his dad off.
And just to make it worse, he follows up that chat to his dad with this straight-to-camera exchange:
“Was that a class move or what? The guy gave it up faster than a drunk Catholic girl. I hope my kids don’t pull this s**t on me.”
Wow. Original Ferris Bueller is a dick.
This simple scene changes how we look at Ferris as a character completely. No longer was he a bit of a jerk with a heart of gold, he is just a massive jerk with the heart of an even bigger jerk.
It also sullies the film’s kindhearted tone and it undermines the subtext of a teenager enjoying the last few days of high school because he’ll never live experience that time in his life ever again.
John Hughes definitely made the right call in cutting that scene. We’re better off remembering Ferris as that likable guy who lip-synched The Beatles’ ‘Twist and Shout’ on a float than some douche who stole his dad’s money and then blew it all ordering some expensive pancreas for lunch.