Molly Ringwald established herself as the teen queen of the '80s in this fresh comedy. The movie is a day in the life of Samantha, whose 16th birthday is turning out to be anything but sweet. All the traumas of teendom come down on one long day, which sees Samantha surrounded by dithery relatives, mooning over a high school hunk, and pursued by a sawed-off Lothario. Sixteen Candles marked the directing debut of John Hughes, and its goofy energy displayed a promising talent with a great ear for high school lingo ... a promise neglected since Hughes became, after Home Alone, a one-man entertainment industry. There are some pretty crass moments (Why the stereotype of the foreign-exchange student from Asia?), but Ringwald's steady appeal smoothes over the rough spots. As the pubescent, self-styled lady-killer, Anthony Michael Hall turns in a hilarious portrait of a young swinger; he and Ringwald would reteam with Hughes for The Breakfast Club, another key teen picture of the decade. --Robert Horton
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