John Hughes's 1984 film is a maddening tangle of styles. With his story of a suburban Chicago girl coming of age on her 16th birthday, Hughes invokes the classical unities of time, place, and plot symmetry, yet he trashes his careful structure every time he needs a gag—destroying the integrity of his characters, shattering the plausibility of his situations. The members of the Lampoon generation had clearly tired of the anything-goes format, but as they tried to make the transition to character comedy, they refused to give up their old attitudes—they wanted to be Chekhov and Mel Brooks, and the results are grotesque. As the girl, Molly Ringwald is natural and appealing, but she's lost in a world of blunt, vicious caricatures. With Paul Dooley, Carlin Glynn, and Anthony Michael Hall.