By Spencer Stechman (Phoenix, AZ)
Tis the seasons! With everything of happy holiday cheer Elf works around Buddy (Will Ferrell) who was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a baby. While there he was raised by Santa’s elves and during his time up North he came to the realization that he didn’t fit in. Wanting to meet his father Walter Hobbs (James Caan) Buddy travels to New York in full Elf uniform to meet his real Dad. While Buddy is a spunky care free person it’s only a matter of time until crazy things start to happen. Jon Favreau director of the film has also worked on Iron Man 1 and 2 and the 2016 version of The Jungle Book.
Easily the best part about Elf is Will Ferrell’s portrayal of Buddy. Pushing the extreme of Buddy’s happy go lucky persona like chewing gum on the New York City sidewalk or eating spaghetti covered in syrup and M&M’s. It’s the way Will Ferrell delivers his lines is what gets to you, the way he’s excited to meet Santa or when he gets unbelievably sad when Walter is a cynical as Santa Claus says he is. From the visual standpoint, it’s decent at best. No shots are outrageously beautiful or different but instead it just gets the job done. I would’ve liked to see more interactions around New York City instead of just relying on the Empire state building and Central Park as your two main locations. Some of the special effects aren’t that great but that’s only at the beginning of the film way up top in the North Pole.
David Berenbaum the writer for Elf pretty much deserves every award there is for screen play. Fifteen years later and I still come across people who can quote this movie from top the bottom. From answering the phone saying “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?” to screaming at a fake Santa “You sit on a throne of lies!” The movie holds up incredibly well for it being so goofy and lovable. From a Christmas standpoint it’s easily one of the best. Jon Favreau made a film that no matter what age you are, you can enjoy. The tone is the right amount of silly and the perfect amount of holiday spirit.
The knock I would have to give the film however would be its use of potty humor. Unnecessary use of farts, burps and anything dirty to pass along as joke. It wasn’t needed and it definitely didn’t flow well with the rest of the film. Another knock I’d add would be Buddy’s love interest Jovie who was played by Zooey Deschanel. She played this hard to get yet easy to talk girl for Buddy and it was confusing to what she really brought to the table. Her character’s decisions didn’t make much sense because she would never mean what she said and would flip in personalities too quick. Her character wasn’t needed to advance the plot and it felt that she was just there for a love interest, nothing else.
Overall Elf remains a great Christmas movie and can be enjoyed by all because of great performances and great choices. Happy Holidays!