Will Ferrell, James Caan, Ed Asner, Zooey Deschanel, Daniel Tay,
Marysteenshipburgenegrenenen, and Bob Newhart
Directed by: Jon Favreau
Screenwriter: David Berenbaum
Rated: PG (though I saw nothing the least bit "PG-y")
you and yours see one film after your feast of pheasants
make it this incredibly precious, delightfully sweet instant holiday
classic Elf .
goes...Buddy (Will Ferrell) was adopted as wee human into the
world of elves. He's accepted by the petite perky lot and welcomed
as their own.
does however start to grow into a man size human which in the
North Pole - a place we all know is designed for elven folks -
is not such a great thing, physically speaking. Poor Bud comes
complete with all these human idiosyncrasies; like the inability
to mass-produce toys and of course height.
time has come (as Buddy's about thirty-three) for Papa Elf (Bob
Newhart), Buddy's adoptive father, to sit dear B. down and tell
him about his being adopted. Buddy was starting to "sense"
he wasn't exactly like the others...
Elf tells him his real father can be found in New York City.
needs to belong, somewhere, so he ventures forth through the forest
of candy canes and the twirly swirly sea of glitter to meet his
father. He brings with him a heart as pure as first fallen snow
and an enthusiasm even the hardest of city-dwelling corporate
drones can't help but warm to.
As you'd expect a man raised by elves in New York City is going
to pose some problems - big funny adorable problems...
the way to his new human filled life he will meet a great girl
(Zooey Deschanel), find out he's got a little (but not elf-like)
brother (Daniel Tay), and have to adjust to wearing a bit more
then yellow tights with a form fitting hand embroidered felt smock...
also teaches an entire city to believe again! Elf's a simple
tale that'll have you smiling ear to ear with toes tapping and
your heart full of Christmas cheer by its end. Bravo.
Ferrell is, himself, a big old Christmas present complete with
all the comic trimmings. He's positively hilarious - as always
- as the wide-eyed gleeful Elf out-of-water. He's a cross between
a six-month-old puppy and a Mother Goose definition of precious.
Now how'd he do that? Oh, right...genius. See, the perpetual snort
causing mega-talent Will Ferrell comes from the infamous Groundlings
training grounds (they are a big swanky comedy school - the biggest
after Second City -- which is technically Canadian...) they teach
no matter what you're given as a character "commit."
Ferrell commits 110%. And frankly it's his unswaying, noncynical,
bright smiled, 6'4" elf being so heartfelt and genuinely
sweet that makes this film positively enjoyable from beginning
keeps the equally talented cast around Ferrell's easy going elf
exceptionally real - Favs has got a certain knack for that. This
is a fairy tale - through and through - but kids will feel that
rare spark warming their hearts because it's still very close
to home and no one (Buddy aside) is cartoony. For example, Buddy's
dad played by the terribly tough terror inducing James Caan doesn't
melt into a goo ball of fatherly love reciting poems of father
and son camaraderie after "Buddy" shows...no....he treats
Buddy just as expected; like the lad's "chemically unbalanced."
He slowly comes around, this is after all a happy story about
love, cheer and ultimately family.
speaking? Elf will be around for a long long time and rightfully
so. It's warm and fuzzy and reminds you to believe in the spirit
of Christmas...you know like a Christmas movie should.
recommendation: Spaghetti with maple syrup and chocolate syrup
sprinkled with sno-caps and buttermints, pop tarts and a dollop
of marinara with a 2 liter of Coca Cola©