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This was one of my favorite movies in 2003. Will Ferrell is brilliant as the Elf. The supporting cast is great too, especially Bob Newhart as his elf "dad". The characters are well written and it is a refreshing film to get lost in. Will Ferrell plays the elf with such innocence, he is so funny! This is not just a Christmas film but when the DVD comes out I will be watching "Elf" in July. The story progresses nicely, there are many lessons to be learned as you watch this movie. It touched my heart in many ways. I highly recommend this movie for kids AND adults, you won't regret it. Treat yourself and watch this "original" movie. Hollywood needs to make more like this.
This is a good natured holiday comedy that definitely is in the same realm
as "The Santa Clause" and (Dare I say?) "Miracle on 34th Street". Story is
about a human that has been raised by Santa's elves at the North Pole and as
he gets older he figures out that he's very different from the other elves.
Years earlier Santa (Ed Asner) was delivering at an orphanage and a human
baby accidentally crawled into his sack and was taken back to the North Pole
where he was raised by Papa Elf (Bob Newhart). He is called Buddy (Will
Ferrell) and he grows to six foot three and one day he is told the truth
about his situation and told by Santa who his real father is. Buddy travels
to New York City to meet his father and he heads to the Empire State
Building where he works. He finds his father Walter (James Caan) who runs a
publishing business and works all the time much to the chagrin of his
family. Walter is unable to get away from Buddy and after a blood test
proves he is his son he takes him home with him to stay with his family. He
meets Walter's wife Emily (Mary Steenburgen) and their son and Walter thinks
Buddy is just someone reverting to his childhood after a shock. Buddy starts
to work in a department store and he meets a woman named Jovie (Zooey
Deschanel) and is smitten by her. Buddy tries to fit in with the others but
finds it difficult although he becomes friends with Walter's son and starts
This film is directed by Jon Favreau who has made his mark as a director of low budget films like "Made" and also as a character actor but this is his first effort at directing a mainstream Hollywood movie. He does a commendable job and as I watched this film I kept having the feeling that he purposely made the most commercial film that he could. Favreau as an actor has mostly appeared in small roles. As a director his small films are lucky to play at art house theaters and I seriously doubt he's getting rich hosting "Dinner For 5" on the Independent Film Channel. It looks as though he wanted to make a crowd pleasing film that will ultimately be playing on some cable channel for the rest of our lives. I'm not knocking this decision at all, it's a smart move and he's become a major Hollywood player with the success of this film. Even the script was carefully written to insure that WHEN this plays on television there will be nothing to edit out. The closest thing to a bad word is uttered by Caan when he says "Hell" once towards the end of the film. This is a fun film that does have undeniable charm and its heart is definitely in the right place. It's sentimental and corny but thats part of the appeal. The script doesn't try to hard and the energy and flow of the film keeps at a constant pace, it doesn't try to go over the top which is refreshing. Ferrell is a natural performer and his dopey wide eyed expressions never grow old. This film must be doing something right because tough guy James Caan is believable as a caring husband and father. Very old fashioned story that never raises itself above lightweight status is nonetheless funny and charming. Like I said earlier, this film will be playing on television every year for the rest of our lives!
It was so nice to be able to sit down and watch a movie featuring an SNL actor without having to mute or fast forward any crude parts. Granted, this may not be Will Farrell's most amazing performance, but if you want a new Christmas movie to watch this season, I highly recommend Elf. I talked to a few people who thought the movie was stupid, but that was because they were expecting Will Farrell's character to be a duplicate of his SNL performances. So, to fully enjoy this movie, watch it without any expectations and remember that it's okay to have a childlike sense of humor--nobody's too cool for a great Christmas movie. I love most all the movies from Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, Will Farrell, Jim Carrey, Chris Farley, Chevy Chase, and David Spade, but most of them aren't appropriate for viewers of all ages. Elf is a movie you can throw in the VCR and not have to worry about what the kids hear or see on it. Thanks, Will, for putting out a hilarious movie that the whole family can watch!
Accidentally finding his way into Santa's bad once Christmas Eve, little
baby orphan Buddy ends up in the north pole, where he is raised by the elves
as one of their own. As he gets ever bigger and less and less suited to the
elf lifestyle he is told about his real father and decides to go to New York
to find him. However Buddy's natural smile and elfish enthusiasm doesn't
really fit in with New York, not to mention a father who rejects
When I first saw the trailer for this film I laughed slightly but I also thought that it could easily be just awful. Despite this fear I decided to go and see it on the basis of seeing Ferrell in the Reloaded MTV spoof on the DVD and being very funny. I was glad that I did as the film was refreshingly funny very enjoyable despite the weaknesses inherent in a seasonable film of this nature. The jokes are a mix of adult and children - but not separately, the humour is of a nature families can all enjoy rather than being of a `one for me and one for the kids' type.
The film does get a little sweet towards the end, but it manages to avoid this usual trap for the majority of the film and can't be expected to not be all Christmas cheer at some point! The fish out of water stuff is pretty funny and Farrell makes his character funny without being annoying to the audience (as he feared he might be from the trailer). Caan is good but has to work with the `scrooge' character of the film and thus gets fewer laughs. The support cast is good with fun turns from Newhart, Asner and Steenburger.
It does get a little sickly sweet towards the end and the fish out of water jokes do wear a little thin towards the end but mostly it is very funny and refreshingly fun to watch. The film is made better by a performance from Farrell that is perfectly pitched without being annoying and full of spark and wit.
Will Ferrell does a great job here, and it's the perfect Christmas
(Holiday) movie that can be enjoyed anytime of the year.
The contrast of almost unbalanced folly of Will's character with those that encompass him, lends a great degree of innocence and non-stop joy and plenty of laughter as he leaves the mundane world of the usual, boring, and often time intolerance of the world in his dust.
It's refreshing to see a story where others are encouraged to rise to the level of this main character instead of him being overwhelmed and dragged down by the majority of "Cotten Headed Ninny Muggins", a.k.a. the "touch me not, speak to me not" big city public psyche so familiar that many walk around with.
For those that represent the general public in the movie, as well as the audience, Ferrell's character dares us to believe again, even for a moment of the magic of Christmas and tears down decades of political correctness to connect us with the late 60s and 70s when so many annual Holiday shows brought us a seemingly sustained desire to entertain ourselves with the magic that waxes then wanes but for a few short weeks each year. Whether a work of animation or raw theater, this refreshing story brings vitality and rekindles childhood memories for the kid in all of us.
A great holiday comedy, destined to be a minor classic. Better than JINGLE ALL THE WAY but not quite as good as A CHRISTMAS STORY, this razzle-dazzle fantasy by actor-director Jon Favreau tells the off-center tale of a human, played by a rather fey Will Ferrell, raised by Santa's elves, who at age 30 goes off in search of his father, a New York City book publisher played by a weary-looking James Caan. Much hilarity ensues, as the merry Ferrell teaches the frumpy Caan the true meaning of Christmas. Some delightful touches such as a bunch of Rankin-Bass-type North Pole creatures including a Burl Ives-ish snowman played by Leon Redbone and an adorable penguin with both eyes on one side of its head. Lots of attention to detail (for instance, note Caan's apartment after Ferrell has transformed it, including the dozens of Christmas cookies on the kitchen counter). Some hysterically funny moments, such as Caan coming upon Ferrell sleeping in Gimbel's (yes, Gimbel's!) window and Ferrell running full-tilt into a steel locker after surprising Reese Witherspoon-lookalike Zooey Deschanel in the shower. This is the film that makes Ferrell a bona fide star, by the way. It owes nothing to SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, thank God, being wholly original in thought and content and character. In the end, ELF goes on a bit long, it falters whenever Ferrell is offscreen, and the ending is a bit too much...but what the heck. By the way, the movie is just this side of being a musical, which will surprise and delight many moviegoers. The soundtrack is simply magnificent, filled with memorable holiday tunes including a nice duet of "Baby It's Cold Outside" featuring Ferrell and Deschanel.
ELF (2003) *** 1/2 Will Ferrell, James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Edward Asner, Bob Newhart, Zooey Daschanel, Daniel Tay, Amy Sedaris, Faizon Love, Andy Richter, Kyle Gass, Michael Lerner, Artie Lange, Peter Billingsley, Peter Dinklage, Claire Lautier, Jon Favreau. Ferrell gives an inspired lunacy turn as a man who was raised by elves at The North Pole and discovers to his dismay he's actually human sparking his quest to be re-united with his long-lost father (Caan in an inspired bit of casting), a 'naughty-list' occupant, who works as a children's book publisher in New York City, just in time for Christmas. Hysterically funny thanks to the goofy yet sweet and wonderful turn by Ferrell (no one else could pull off the razor's edge of looking like an idiot yet retaining the innocent glee of a child and bares a striking resemblance to Tom Hanks' turn in 'BIG') with a great cast especially the beguilingly pretty Daschanel as his fellow Santa's Little Helper at Gimbels'who he falls in love with. Directed with style and witty warmth by Favreau (who has a cameo) and written by newcomer David Berenbaum with a smart, fun script that caters to all ages with a nostalgic nod to classic animated holiday specials for good measure. An instant holiday classic. Trivia note: Billingsley, best known as Ralphie from the yuletide cinematic classic, plays 'A CHRISTMAS STORY' the elf foreman!
Charming Christmas confection--about a boy raised by elves in the North Pole who grows up and journeys to N.Y.C. in search of his biological father--puts a clever spin on even the most familiar gags, successfully walking a fine line between absurdist comedy and holiday schmaltz. Will Ferrell looks like a string-bean in yellow tights and, with his mass of curly hair peeking out from underneath his elf's hat, he could easily be used as a walking punchline. Fortunately, director Jon Favreau's handling of "Elf" is incredibly nimble, treating Ferrell and his naive character Buddy with the utmost respect; you can laugh at all the silly pranks without ever feeling guilty. Favreau's work is smooth, and he's assembled an incredible supporting cast of character actors to back his star, though some may find the climactic moments (involving Edward Asner as Santa Claus) a bit too literal--and the movie is certainly funnier before we get to this point. Still, the special effects are kept to a minimum in order to let the people shine...and that's not only refreshing, it's heart-warming. *** from ****
The most helpful thing I can tell you about this movie is that if you've got even a smidgen of a youthful spirit about you, then this movie will make you laugh until you cry....over and over. There's one scene where Elf and a gruffy fellow warehouse worker(who was a total stranger just a few moments before) are sitting on a pallet after smoking some dope, and are laughing really hard about something really stupid, and the Elf leans over and begins tickling the guy under the arms and shouting "Tickle, Tickle!" as they both topple over in hysteric ecstasy....and I thought I was going to have a coronary, I laughed so long and hard (after running the DVD back to watch the same scene about 5 times over!!!!! This is absolutely my favorite all-time comedy! I'm very hard to please when it comes to comedies, seeing most of them as just stupid, but Elf is in a class by itself.
I sure wish they would have released this movie in December, it would have given it an even Christmas-ier spirit to it all. Elf was a hilarious movie about a guy named Buddy (Will Ferrel), who was raised by elves at the North Pole. He then discovers he isn't an elf, and travels to New York city to find his real father (James Caan). It turns out his that Buddy has a stepbrother and a stepmother (Mary Steenburghen). While there, he meets Jovie (Zooey Deschanel) at a store there, and falls in love. This movie is all about Christmas spirit and is wonderful and enjoyable. It's a great family movie. You should take you ands your family to it during the holiday season. This will be one of those Christmas movies that I will be able to watch over and over. I give Elf a 10/10.
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