Last modified: 2021-09-20
Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 84% of critics gave it a positive rating, based on 43 reviews with an average rating of 7. 09/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "Significantly more mature than the teen raunch comedies that defined the era, Sixteen Candles is shot with compassion and clear respect for its characters and their hang-ups". Ringwald's performance was especially praised; Variety called her "engaging and credible" while Roger Ebert wrote that she "provides a perfect center for the story" in "a sweet and funny movie. " Janet Maslin of The New York Times called the film "a cuter and better-natured teen comedy than most, with the kinds of occasional lapses in taste that probably can't hurt it in the circles for which it is intended. The middle of the film wastes time on a bit more house-wrecking and car-crashing than is absolutely necessary, and there are some notably unfunny ethnic jokes. But most of the movie is cheerful and light, showcasing Mr. Hughes's knack for remembering all those aspects of middle-class American adolescent behavior that anyone else might want to forget. " Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four and called it "the best teenage comedy since last year's 'Risky Business,'" saying it was "certain to draw a lot of laughs, but the guess here is that it also will offer comfort to young girls and boys who feel awkward. And comfort and moments of recognition are in short supply in teenage movies, which often portray a world of violence and sexual mastery that is a lie. " Pauline Kael wrote in The New Yorker, "It doesn't amount to much, and it's certainly not to be confused with a work of art or a work of any depth, but the young writer-director John Hughes has a knack for making you like the high-school age characters better each time you hear them talk. " Sheila Benson of the Los Angeles Times stated that "'Vacation' worked, for all its raunchiness. 'Sixteen Candles' mixture of the sympathetic and the synthetic, the raucous and the racist, doesn't. At least not for me . . . it flails about, substituting chaos and raunchy language for any semblance of wit. " Gary Arnold of The Washington Post wrote, "Hughes isn't vigilant or deft enough to prevent the dramatic focus of attention from shifting at about the halfway point; he can't quite finesse the letdown that sets in when the engaging teen-age heroine, Samantha, delightfully embodied by Molly Ringwald, is allowed to become almost a subsidiary character in the second half of the story. Nevertheless, 'Sixteen Candles' blends an idiosyncratic screwball imagination with a flair for updated domestic comedy and scenes of intimate, quirkily affectionate character interplay. " Metacritic gave the film a score of 61 based on 11 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
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