ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Film Review: Sixteen Candles

Updated on December 21, 2016
Film Frenzy profile image

Jason Wheeler is the Senior Writer and Editor at Film Frenzy. He reviews films from across the cinematic landscape.


In 1984, John Hughes released Sixteen Candles. Starring Molly Ringwald, Paul Dooley, Justin Henry, Michael Schoeffling, Gedde Watanabe, Haviland Morris, Carlin Glynn, Blanche Baker and Anthony Michael Hall, the film grossed $23.7 million at the Box Office.


Sam Baker is facing her sixteenth birthday with numerous emotional challenges. For one, her family is focused on the wedding of Ginny, her older sister, and forgets the birthday. She’s also in love with a senior named Jake Ryan, who doesn’t even know she exists while being pursued by a geeky freshman named Ted.


While Sixteen Candles is seen as one of the best films of 1984, it doesn’t seem to have aged well. The film has, at best, two very average plots running simultaneously. Sam’s coming of age story is pretty decent, revolving around Sam’s forgotten birthday. Yet, that’s more symbolic of her troubles rather than a cause of them. It’s actually the least of her troubles, but it brings about the frame of the story. Being forced to take foreign exchange student to the senior dance, which winds up being another woe for her as he winds up with an actual date before long, becomes the catalyst for getting involved with Ted and Jake. Later in the film, when she reconciles with her parents, she and Jake finally get together, leading to the first date she’d been dreaming about.

As a whole, the reason the above plot is just average is that not only is it entirely predictable, but despite it being a somewhat enjoyable ride regardless of the predictability, it's a poorly paced ride. This whole 90 minute plot feels like it could have lost about 15 or so minutes without losing anything of value.

The other coming of age story centers on Ted. However, not only is it average, it’s totally unnecessary with an ending that doesn't age well at best. His only motivation through the entire film is to have sex and most of the time, he's going after Sam even though it's obvious Ted is going to leave Sam alone so she and Jake can get together. Nevertheless, Jake rewarding Ted by hooking him up with Caroline is sort of unforeseen, but that just leads to the unfortunate implications.

When Jake “gives” Caroline to Ted, she’s drunk and definitely not of sound mind and what goes on from there is essentially date rape. When driving her home, Caroline starts to go down on Ted and he starts to consider that the night is getting good. The next day, the two of them are practically sure they had sex, cut can't really remember. The film unfortunately plays this off as everything turning out all right because Caroline enjoying it.

Still, that's not the only unfortunate aspect of the film. There's also Long Duk Dong who is practically a walking, breathing Asian stereotype. Everything he does is blatantly offensive, from speaking stilted English with no verbs to turning into a sort of drunken master at some form of martial arts. It's odd to watch especially with the Bakers treating the matter as some sort of humorous cultural idiosyncrasy. A character such a this may have been seen as high comedy back in the 1980s. But nowadays, it's a tired, unfunny cliché.

On the other hand, there are some truly funny moments in the film. There’s Joan Cusack wearing a neck brace and attempting to drink from a water fountain and can of beer. Sam's grandparents and their obliviousness to most things is also good, like them answering the phone in Sam's room and missing the point that a guy is trying to reach her. Another great moment is Jake finding Ted encased in the glass coffee table after the party. It's memorably humorous, but the funniest part of the film is after Ginny takes muscle relaxers to ease the pain from her period so she can stand through her wedding in comfort. Seeing her completely high and not quite aware that she’s at her own wedding is hilarious.

3 stars for Sixteen Candles

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinions.

Awards won

Young Artist Awards

  • Best Young Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical, Comedy, Adventure or Drama (Molly Ringwald)
  • Best Young Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical, Comedy, Adventure or Drama (Anthony Michael Hall)

Nominated for

Casting Society of America Artios Awards

  • Best Casting for Feature Film


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)