Some of cinema's most iconic shots of Chicago appear in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and the film is certainly Matthew Broderick's most iconic role. So, it's hard to watch the actor in the Chicago-set Diminished Capacity and not ask yourself, "is this what's happened to Ferris?" He is now relatively passive, paunchy and pitiful in the role of Cooper, a newspaper editor who has recently suffered a mildly debilitating concussion. And the character could be classified as yet another sad sack, one of three such parts he can be seen playing at present (Then She Found Me opened in April and is still in theaters; Finding Amanda debuted last week).
But is it fair that we most associate Broderick with Ferris, thereby continuing our disappointment in seeing him play one nebbish nobody after another? Couldn't we redirect our memories and accept that Broderick's modern roles are more like grown-up versions of Eugene Jerome, of Neil Simon's plays Brighton Beach Memoirs and Biloxi Blues, who he portrayed on Broadway as well as in the film adaptation of Biloxi? Were Eugene not the fictional incarnation of Simon and had he not therefore become a famous writer (and were he not from an earlier time period), the character surely could have gone on to be the pathetic teacher of Election or Then She Found Me or the absentminded editor of Diminished Capacity.