Ferris Bueller has been gone from the big screen for more than a quarter-century, but he receives the perfect homage in an extended cut of a new Super Bowl ad for the Honda CR-V released Monday (check it out below).
Without ever mentioning the names Bueller, Cameron or Principal Rooney, director Todd Phillips and the creative team at the Santa Monica ad agency RPA pay homage to the cinematic truant in a 2½-minute short that is a veritable festival of references for '80s movies geeks. (The material, which continues a Super Bowl advertising trend of referencing modern classics such as "Star Wars" and "Vacation" -- that is, movies thirtysomething and fortysomething consumers grew up with -- will air as a 60-second commercial in the fourth quarter of Sunday's Patriots-Giants game.)
Matthew Broderick begins the spot by calling his agent and feigning illness so he doesn't have to shoot that day. (He's in an L.A. hotel, presumably in town from New York making a film.) Said agent excuses him, annoyedly, from his call time, and the Ferris wheel begins to turn.
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A valet attendant calls out "Broderick, Broderick," in a nod to Ben Stein's monotone as he gives the actor his Honda, which he uses to speed around Los Angeles on his day off. The agent standing in for Rooney misses catching his hooky-playing subject whooping it up on television (this time he's on his cellphone at a high-end restaurant).
There are vanity license-plates ("SOCHOIC" instead of "NRVOUS") museums (Natural History of L.A. instead of Chicago Art) and parades -- only instead of "Twist & Shout" and "Danke Schoen" with marching bands on the streets of Chicago, it's a Mandarin tune with a traditional choir in a Chinese pride gathering.
Broderick even comes out after the spot seems to be over to wonder what we're still doing there. And, for true Bueller geeks, the name of the agent, Walter Linder, is a nod to the name listed under sausage king of Chicago Abe Froman on the restaurant-reservation list in the original film.
Of course, in the original, Broderick tools around in a 1961 Ferrari, not a burgundy Honda CR-V. But as even he might admit, we all need to grow up a little bit.
-- Steven Zeitchik
Photo: Matthew Broderick in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." Credit: Paramount Pictures