Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Movie Review: "Elf" (2003)

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Director: Jon Favreau
Year: 2003
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 37 minutes

When a orphaned baby sneaks into Santa's gift sack, he is accidentally taken to the North Pole. Once there, seeing that the child has no parents, he is given to Papa Elf (Bob Newhart) to be raised as his own. Buddy (Will Ferrell) grows to be 6 foot 3 very rapidly, but is still oblivious to the fact that he is adopted and is not actually an elf. He starts to realize he is different, and when he overhears some of the elves talking about the fact that he is a human, Buddy decides to go to New York to find his father. Before leaving, Buddy is informed that his father never knew that he existed and worst of all, is on the Naughty List! He travels to New York to connect with his family, but quickly realizes he is out of place there, too. He stumbles upon a job opportunity at Gimbal's where he meets Jovie (Zooey Deschanel), the girl he falls in love with. Buddy must find a way to get close to his father Walter (James Caan), who believes he is insane, and find a way to acclimate himself to living in the Big Apple while finding his true identity.

This is a very silly and fun modern Christmas movie! Will Ferrell does the toned-down PG version of himself as Buddy the elf, just with more manic, sugar-ridden fervor. He does that same kind of humor he did on SNL and in the majority of his movies, except with no cussing and with no ass shots. You can say the same thing about James Caan almost, he plays a very toned-down PG rated version of himself (IE: no f-bombs, no guns, no hookers, etc), complete with his mafioso twang. He plays such a good scrooge character. Mary Steenburgen is only there to be Caan's voice of reason throughout the film, who turns him from an anti-Buddy humbug to an elf-loving singer! YEEEE!!! Supporting roles from Bob Newhart, Faizon Love, and Peter Dinklage are also very humorous and a welcomed treat.

When we first saw this movie, we didn't know how we felt about it. It has sort of grown on us over the years, and while it's not the best modern-day Christmas movie, we do look forward to watching it every year. The ending is, by far, the best part, inspiring the childlike wonderment of the holidays in even the oldest adults. Actually, there are a lot of good lessons to be learned from this movie. It really warms your heart and makes you appreciate the sentiment of Christmas. The ride to get there is quirky, silly, and often times over-the-top, but it's still pretty fun, though we can see how and why people wouldn't care for this movie. You really have to be able to stand Will Ferrell in starring roles to dig it. Some of the humor gives us so much secondhand embarrassment that it's almost cringe-worthy, and yet I still want to try spaghetti with syrup.......maybe another day!

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 84%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!


  1. I loveloveLOVE when he screams "SANTA!" after the store guy announces Santa is coming. Omg, one of the funniest things ever!!


    1. LOL, that is such a great part!! Love that line! There are a lot of good scenes in this movie!