Top critical review
Molly Ringwald good & charming but it is ‘The Breakfast Club’ you really need to see
24 March 2016
‘Sixteen Candles’ is the first of about three 1980s comedies about school-aged teenagers to be written and directed by John Hughes and to star Molly Ringwald, although the characters and plots are not related. While not a bad film, this is nowhere near as good as ‘The Breakfast Club’, which they made together the following year.
‘Sixteen Candles’ is a more ordinary comedy about teenagers. It is about one day (actually her 16th birthday) in the life of Samantha, an American schoolgirl, who never does get a cake with 16 candles as her family are so distracted by her older sister’s wedding that they completely forget Samantha’s birthday.
There are eccentric grandparents visiting for the wedding, an annoying exchange student from the Far East, lecherous adolescent boys exaggerating their sexual exploits, drunken teenagers doing stupid things at parties, a couple of scenes involving girls’ underwear, and a boy and girl who love each other but due to various circumstances for most of the film do not realise that the feeling is mutual. All of that, I think, has also been done in other films. However, Molly Ringwald is good and charming in the lead role.
While at first I did not think she made much impression, by the end of the film I also liked Havilland Morris as the pretty blonde ‘Caroline’, who is going out with Jake, the boy Molly Ringwald’s character would like to be with, played by Michael Schoeffling. He is also good, although he has less screen time than some of the more annoying characters. Havilland Morris and Michael Schoeffling had subsequent screen acting careers but neither became a star. According to Wikipedia, Havilland Morris is now the American equivalent of an Estate Agent; Michael Schoeffling makes furniture for a living.
Like many films, ‘Sixteen Candles’ gets better as it goes along. If you persevere with it, the last part does come alive, but it is ‘The Breakfast Club’ that you really need to see.