(2003)

Critic Reviews

64

Metascore

Based on 38 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
It's a terrific movie, smart and funny enough to hold up at any time of year.
83
Entertainment Weekly
The disarming comedic tone -- silly and novel in its lack of cynicism -- is driven by the fearless, cheerful unself-consciousness of Will Ferrell, a big man last seen streaking (all too unself-consciously) through ''Old School.''
80
Directed by Jon Favreau from a script by David Berenbaum, Elf returns to the hip but warm-hearted spirit of "Swingers," which Favreau both wrote and starred in. It brings sophisticated glee and a sense of innocent fun to what could have been a moribund traditional family film.
80
The Hollywood Reporter
While the words "instant holiday classic" might be pushing it, Elf is at the very least a breezily entertaining, perfectly cast family treat.
75
Chicago Sun-Times
This is one of those rare Christmas comedies that has a heart, a brain and a wicked sense of humor, and it charms the socks right off the mantelpiece. Even the unexpected casting is on the money.
75
San Francisco Chronicle
Funny and intelligently made, a film for kids and adults that's both sweet and sardonic...Elf stays perfectly in balance, a pleasure throughout.
75
Philadelphia Inquirer
Pays homage to a sack of Christmas movies, from the department store Claus of "Miracle on 34th Street" to a standing-on-the-bridge-contemplating-suicide moment, a la "It's a Wonderful Life."
75
New York Daily News
A non-sappy and genuinely adorable confection. It wiped away the Scrooge in me for 90 enchanting minutes.
75
Chicago Tribune
Elf, formulaic but lovable, is essentially "Big" in pointy shoes.
75
New York Post
Ferrell's manic, overgrown-kid energy sweeps all before it, announcing him - after his standout turn in "Old School" - as a major leading-man talent who can charm as well as amuse.
50
Ferrell makes the damn thing work. Even though he can't get naked or use naughty words, there's a devil of comedy in Ferrell, and he lets it out to play. Director Jon Favreau has the good sense to just stand out of his way.
50
Its message is unobjectionable, and there are a few laughs to be had, but too much of Elf is like Buddy's favorite meals: syrupy sweet.

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