Elf (2003)

The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is laughing out loud for all to hear

Buddy (Will Ferrell), one of Santa's elves, learns that he's actually a human and goes to New York City to meet his father, spreading christmas cheer in a world of cynics.

Will Ferrell gives off a tremendous performance as Buddy the Elf, perfectly managing to capture the naivety and child-like innocence and wonder that is required for the character of Buddy, whilst never managing to stray into the area of being annoying, instead remaining as the lovable lead you continue to root for.

Zooey Deschanel's role did manage to come off a bit more hardened than I usually expect from the roles I usually see her in, but it felt like the film makers saw this and accordingly developed her character, making her soften up and become quite the likable love interest. James Caan gives a very well done performance as Walter Hobbs, Buddy's biological father who's business driven and cynical.

The film's humor is refreshingly good natured, as the best of the laughs come from the culture clash as Buddy tries to apply his loving sense of humor and whimsy to the everyday life of New York City, as he runs through a set of revolving doors like they're a fairground ride, takes a coffee shop's sign saying "World's best cup of coffee" literally and mistakes a famous author for, well i'm not going to ruin it for you if you haven't seen the film yet. A highlight is definitely the snowball fight scene, which is fun to watch and shows the beginning brotherly bond between Buddy and Michael.

Buddy was unlike other children of his age...

While the storyline about Walter and the storybook his company is making is not as interesting as Buddy's fish out of water adventures, it doesn't feel like a waste of time as it manages to actually be pretty integral to the main story. There were a few scenes where talking animals appear out of nowhere, and they really add nothing to the overall film, instead feeling like they were added on in post-production for the little children to enjoy. While I do believe that the resolution to the main storyline does border on corny, the ending manages to be pretty feel good and satisfyingly wraps it all up in a neat and tidy bow.

Elf is an enjoyable and charming holiday movie that revels in good natured humor, boasting terrific performances all around, with Will Ferrell shining brightest for all to see. A film that will become the norm to view every Christmas season.


Daniel Mumby said…
I'm in the minority in that I really, really HATE this film, but I respect your opinion.
Matt Stewart said…
LOVE IT! Good, short review Rodders!
James Rodrigues said…
@Daniel Mumby fair enough, I respect your opinion also

@Matt Stewart cheers Matt
Jeff SC said…
I think the addition of the talking animals was a tribute to those old clay-mation Christmas shorts, like Year Without A Santa Claus or Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. Good movie, good review! I particularly liked the Peter Dinklage scene ;D
Elf won't be part of my regular Christmas viewing. Central Park chase scene eats away at what goodwill film generated in first 75 minutes.