Saturday, May 7, 2016

Sixteen Candles

Sixteen Candles; comedy, USA, 1984; D: John Hughes, S: Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Michael Schoeffling, Paul Dooley

Samantha has just turned 16. Unfortunately for her, her whole family, even her parents, forgot about her birthday since her older sister Ginny is preparing to get married tomorrow. In high school, Ted, a geek, is hitting on her since he finally wants to lose his virginity, but Samantha has a crush on Jake - but he is already dating Caroline. Samantha is annoyed that several relatives spend the night at her house for the wedding - including a Chinese exchange student, Dong. Jake dumps the drunk Caroline, and Ted uses the opportunity to parade with her in a car. After Ginny's wedding, Samantha talks to Jake and they fall in love.

John Hughes' directing career spans only seven years, and he only directed eight films in that period. The impression that he actually directed far more can thus be attributed to how almost every one of his films had a huge impact on the audience. His feature length debut film "Sixteen Candles" is one his lesser films, where he made a compromise by appealing too much to the wide audience and the niche of 'crazy teen-comedy', yet he still managed to fuse a few of his feelings which mirror the quiet anxiety and insecurity of teenagers growing up and trying to find their place in the world. The storyline is 'rough', and it seems that by trying to infuse as much wild jokes as possible involving the geek kid, Hughes forgot about his two protagonists in the process, Samantha and Jake - in the second half, for instance, the main heroine is absent for almost half an hour from the screen - which seems uneven, yet some of the jokes are simply hilarious anyway (while doing an anonymous "sex quiz" in school, Samantha arrives to the question: "Have you ever touched it?" and writes the reply: "Almost"; the 'politically incorrect' jokes of the Chinese exchange student Dong, especially in the scene where grandpa asks him: "Where... is my... auto-mobile?"; the moment where Samantha finds out that her grandparents will sleep in her room) and it seems that the author was getting the 'hang of it' as the movie went along, which all resulted in an offbeat comedy, which has just enough emotions and pathos to stand out from the rest of standard teen-comedies.


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