The Plot – While making the rounds Christmas Eve, Santa unwittingly picks up an extra passenger on a stop at an orphanage. Arriving back at the North Pole Santa discovers Buddy in his sack of goodies. Santa decides to keep Buddy and his most trusted elf Papa raises the little one as his own. The years pass and Buddy eventually figures out he’s not an elf like everyone else. Shattered by this discovery he goes on a quest to find his real father in New York. It won’t be all ice skating & sugar plums though as Buddy’s father is on Santa’s naughty list.
The Review – Elf is one of those movies people either love or hate. Fortunately for me, I was thoroughly entertained. The humor in this film falls squarely on the physical, buffoonery of Will Ferrell and he does a good job of creating a character that is likable as an adult acting like a naive child.
The first thing I noticed about this film was how it captured the nostalgia of all the Christmas claymation TV specials I watched growing up. The opening sequence made me wish I was home with the family chillin’ in front of the fireplace with some eggnog. Cue the narration by Bob Newhart (excellent casting choices in this film), and after a little background story on Will’s character we flash forward and dive head first into the plot. Not that there is much of a plot, but then I don’t think that is the point of this film.
The film wins by playing to its target audience – families – and by delivering a solid comedic performance. I laughed through the entire film. I don’t think any of the jokes were original, but not since Chevy Chase have I seen someone deliver prat falls and physical humor that just worked. I also enjoyed the bits of humor that the writers slipped in like the story about the Asparagus with stinky pee. The timing seemed perfect given the recent consumer focus.
It wouldn’t surprise me if this movie becomes a holiday classic like The Christmas Story.
Grade: A (holiday fun for all ages)