So I watched Elf…
We’re a few days into December and December always means one thing to me – CHRISTMAS! Now I’m not the biggest fan of the festive season, mainly because it always disappoints but I am a sucker for a good Christmas movie.
Okay, basic plot: Buddy (Will Ferrell) is an elf living and working in the North Pole. However, Buddy isn’t like the other elves. He’s not only bigger than most elves but also not as skilled in toymaking as they are. One day Buddy learns that he isn’t actually an elf but actually a human being who was adopted by Papa Elf (Bob Newhart). Papa Elf tells Buddy about his biological father, a stern and joyless man living in New York. Buddy sets off to leave the North Pole and connect with his father, Walter Hobbs (James Caan). Although eager and filled with Christmas spirit, Buddy finds it difficult to acclimatise to the real world which isn’t as enthusiastic about Christmas as he is.
This film’s best feature – without doubt – is Will Ferrell. He is so perfectly cast and does such a wonderful job making this role his own that I can’t imagine anyone else been able to pull of this part. His enthusiasm and jovial, childlike nature is infectious and spreads throughout every aspect of this film. Watching Ferrell’s performance in this film is often much like watching a kid run through a candy store – it’s unbridled joy.
The next great thing about this movie is its cheerful, lighthearted screenplay. David Berenbaum crafts a script that truly celebrates Christmas and doesn’t bog itself down trying to be overly serious. This feels like a kids’ movie at times because of the simplicity of its plot but it still has something to offer to adults. It’s easy viewing, ideal for family gatherings or lazy watching after a big Christmas meal. I haven’t seen this film in quite a while and I was actually surprised that it managed to draw a few tears out of me. There’s a big emotional ending that appeals to the childhood belief you used to have in all things magical including Santa that I couldn’t resist.
I think the best time to watch Elf is obviously during the festive period but it’s actually a good enough quality to be enjoyed year-round I suspect. My favourite moment in this movie is when Buddy, confronted by a Santa impersonator, calls the imposter out. “You sit on a throne of lines!” It’s one of those moments where a quality piece of dialogue, meets perfect delivery by an actor. It had me on the floor.
Now I’ve singled out Will Ferrell for praise but really everyone in this film’s cast puts in entertaining work. The inclusion of Hollywood veterans like Bob Newhart and James Caan really adds a glossy, classy finish to the film. Zooey Deschanel has a supporting role in the film as Buddy’s love interest and although Deschanel doesn’t have much to do, it’s refreshing seeing her play a character other than the doe-eyed, socially-awkward pixie that she portrays in New Girl.
Overall, Elf is one of my favourite Christmas movies. It’s lighthearted, filled with Christmas spirit and guaranteed to put a smile on your face. I think it’s worth gathering the family and spending some time watching Will Ferrell in tights. 7/10