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A movie directed by Jon Favreau

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"I'm a cotton-headed ninny-muggins."

  • Dec 16, 2004
Buddy is an elf. Well, not really. Buddy is a human who grew up in the North Pole thinking he was an elf. One Christmas Santa was putting presents under the tree at an orphanage and little Buddy snuck out of his crib and crawled into Santa's sack. Santa didn't know about it until he got back home in the North Pole. By then, he couldn't take the baby back. They would have to wait at least a year. So a kindly Master Elf and his wife who had no children of their own, adopt Buddy and raise them as their son. Buddy, though just doesn't fit as an elf. Not only is he too tall for everything, but he can't work as fast, either. Everyone thinks he's a klutz. Papa Elf has to tell Buddy the truth and Buddy then leaves the North Pole to search for his biological father (James Caan) in New York City. Add in a couple of slapstick gags, some really witty and original dialogue, a touch of boy meets girl story, a Scrooge-like man who has a change of heart, and a crash landing of Santa's sleigh in Central Park and it makes for one hilarious and charming Christmas story. Not too mention Bob Newhart.

ELF is bound to become a Christmas classic that people watch every year. There aren't very many Christmas movies like that. The majority of Christmas movies that are made are seen once, put on video and DVD, and then forgotten except by strange little trivia lovers like myself. However, every few years a Christmas movie comes along that ends up becoming a new favorite and eventually becomes a classic, like IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, THE CHRISTMAS STORY, and NATIONAL LAMPOON'S CHRISTMAS VACATION. ELF will be the next movie added to those lists.

Will Ferrell is at his comic genius best, portraying just the right mix of innocence and sincerity without seeming to be mushy. One of the best things about the film is seeing Bob Newhart, a comic legend in his own right, teamed up with Ferrell. It's a comedians generational crossover. Ed Asner gets to be a little less cranky than he often is since he plays Santa, and he does a fine job--why wasn't he ever cast in more friendly roles sooner? James Caan also does a wonderful job as Buddy's long lost father, Walter. Caan isn't given the best lines or material, but is able to make it work. Mary Steenburgen gives a strong supporting performance as Walter's wife and Zooey Deschanel is absolutely adorable as Jovie, the department store clerk who Buddy falls in love with.

The movie has a great cast, good writing, intriguing direction, and an involving story. It's slightly quirky, but not so much so to turn anyone off. In terms of Christmas movies, ELF is bound to become one of the giants.

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More Elf reviews
review by . May 16, 2007
Elf is one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies.    Will Ferrell fans fall into two camps: the ones that appreciate his raunchy side, and those who find his goofy innocence charming.     I'm in the second camp.     My children and I quote Elf often. "Does somebody need a hug?" is a favorite.    But I know perfectly wonderful people who hated the movie.    If you go for art or brilliant acting/writing, …
review by . February 20, 2005
Will Farrell captures the essence of innocence as Buddy the elf in "Elf," directed by "Swingers" man Jon Favreau. From the beginning, this movie catches both the imaginations of young kids and the hearts of adults. It tells the story of the aforementioned Buddy, an orphaned human baby who is raised by Santa's elves at the North Pole, and his attempt to find his real father who just happens to live in New York.    Farrell is perfect as the innocent Buddy. He is captivated by everything …
review by . November 15, 2004
When I think of Christmas movies "It's a Wonderful Life", "A Christmas Story" and "National Lampoons Christmas Vacation" have always been the first to come to mind. I can now add "Elf" to that list of timeless classics. Will Ferrell is at the top of his game in portraying a child-like elf. It really is too funny!     Elf is a truly original spin on Christmas. Think about it... that is hard to do... be original about Christmas! "Elf" succeeds in bringing us a very funny movie …
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About this movie


Elf is a 2003 American Christmas comedy film directed by Jon Favreau and released in the United States on November 7, 2003.

It stars Will Ferrell as the film's central character "Buddy", and Ed Asner as Santa Claus. As an infant in a New York City orphanage, Buddy had crawled into Santa Claus's bag on Christmas Eve, and Santa unwittingly brought him back to the North Pole. Not knowing to whom the child belonged, the elves decided that he would be raised by them and that it would never be disclosed to him that he was really a human. However, when Buddy overhears the other elves talking about the fact that he is human, he goes to his adoptive father Papa Elf, for advice.

Papa Elf acknowledges that Buddy is, indeed, a human, and tells him the entire story of how he came to be raised by elves. Most important, he tells Buddy about his human father, Walter Hobbs, who lives in New York City. Buddy soon decides to head off on a quest to find his father, where much comedy ensues from the childlike and wholesome Buddy the Elf being a fish-out-of-water.

Elf begins with narration by Papa Elf (Bob Newhart), explaining the only three jobs available to an elf: making shoes for a cobbler; baking cookies inside of trees; and working in Santa's workshop. He also explains Buddy's presence at the North Pole — as an infant in an orphanage, he crawled into Santa Claus's sack of toys one Christmas Eve and was accidentally taken to the North Pole. Santa ...
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Director: Jon Favreau
Release Date: 7 November 2003 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG
Screen Writer: David Berenbaum
Runtime: 97 min
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