Newest Review: ... starts to become crystal clear to him that he is not like the other Elf's that he is living with. As a human he grows much bigger than th... more
Santa's coming? SANTA'S COMING!!!
Member Name: pmcds
Advantages: Hilarious, Ferrell, the support, the direction
Disadvantages: Nothing really
If there was ever a Christmas movie to make you laugh, this is likely to be it. The whole Will Ferrell bandwagon is a bit hit and miss with me, some films I find hilarious, some go over the top and just try too hard to funny, and aren't. This definitely falls in the first category, and is hilarious from the start.
Buddy has grown up at the North Pole, believing himself to be an elf, despite the fact that he is as big as a human, more than twice the size of an elf. He can't make toys as fast, in fact he struggles to do any of the things an elf can do. So, when he's told he's not really an elf, and that his dad is some bigwig advertising exec at a publishing company in New York. However, life in the big city is a lot different than at the North Pole, and Buddy soon becomes the laughing stock.
This is perhaps the main part of the comedy the film produces. The sheltered life of Buddy as he was growing up at the North Pole means that Will Ferrell, as Buddy, can play the naive and innocent card time and time again. There is a lot of emphasis put on the commercial aspect of Christmas, as well as the importance of Xmas cheer, and Ferrell is ably supported by James Caan, who plays his real dad. There are, inevitably, elements of the film that are completely unbelievable, but this is a comedy about one of Santa's elves, so it's never going to be based on reality, is it?!
Ferrell really takes this film by the horns and runs with it. You almost get the impression that Jon Favreau's direction consisted of focusing on everything else, and letting Ferrell ad lib the whole thing, telling him t he situation and allowing the improvisation that made him a Saturday Night Live star take over. Favreau even cameos as a department store Santa, with Buddy feeling aggrieved that he isn't the real Santa, not realising the whole point of such a thing. Hilarious.
It is also great timing on the part of all involved, and not just Ferrell. Caan is brilliant as the surprised and aggrieved man who finds out he has a 30 year old son who appears completely loopy, believing he's an elf. Zooey Deschanel is good as the love interest (department store elf, of course!), and Daniel Tay is impressive as Buddy's 'brother' Michael. Ed Asner has a brief but effective run at being the real Santa, while Bob Newhart is also effective as Papa Elf. However, there are none of the usual suspects that Ferrell usually hooks up with here. This is perhaps what makes it funny, as it means that we focus solely on Ferrell's exploits and not the juvenile comedy of his co stars, as there is none. This, I feel, makes the film great: the fact that the comedy comes from Buddy's naivety of the real world.
Overall, it's a great film at Xmas time. Probably best watched at the festive time itself, although I'd happily watch it at any time of the year. It's not the best film Ferrell's ever done, but it is very good, and doesn't end up as one of the over the top films we've had from him and his usual crew. Well worth the watch, Elf is currently available from amazon.co.uk for £3.98. Recommended.
Summary: Hilarious take of an elf who discovers he's really a human