119 of 131 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2003
I loved this movie. It was totally bonkers: a human baby accidently ends up on the north pole and grows up among the elf community that supports Santa Claus. Buddy, as he comes to be known, knows that he's "special" however, since he can't keep up with the other elves. Never mind the fact that he's about three times as tall as any of them and barely fits in the shower.
When he's 30, and still young by Elf standards, he learns that he's really a human. Buddy decides to go in search of his father (who's on Santa's naughty list), to find out where he belongs. He walks to New York (through the Lincoln tunnel), and is immediately run over by a cab. The chain of events starts at that moment ...
Buddy is a delightful and enchanting character with many special talents and a childish personality. He is naive to the point of stupidity, but charming all the while. His lovable demeanour gains him friends in spite of his clumsy efforts. He is sweet, kind and generous. When his father at first rejects him, Buddy ends up in a department store where other elves (people who pretend to be Santa's elves) are working, and stays up all night to decorate the place. When the department store Santa isn't the real Santa, well, you can guess what happens ...
Buddy eats spaghetti covered in syrup, smarties and pop tarts; he gets drunk in the mail room of his father's office and his young half-brother shows him to ask a girl out on a date.
But all the while, things are looking bad for Santa Claus (and also Buddy's father). How will Buddy rescue the day? When Santa crashes his sleigh in Central Park, it's Buddy's moment to shine.
Abstract, enchanting, child-like madness all make up this beautiful movie. Absolutely delightful and recommended to viewers of all ages. If you want a Christmas feel-good movie, this is it.
55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2004
I rarely go see movies twice, but after taking my four children, I treated my parents and watched it again! You fall in love with Buddy, you just can't help it! Will Ferrell is not the kooky nut in this one as in most of his movies, he truly shows the innocent, sweetness of Buddy the elf. Full of laughs, and not as predictable as you might think. I just can't wait until it is released to purchase. I will own this one, please note that after viewing you will need to decorate your house for Christmas immediately !! :)
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2004
Elf will land a spot alongside The Grinch (cartoon), Charlie Brown & A Christmas Story in my holiday video library! Will Farrell was hilarious & touching as the ever-cheerful,naive and polite Buddy. Bob Newhart, deadpan & stuttering as ever, was the perfect Papa Elf. The rest of the cast were ideal picks. A nice movie & a clever story. I needed a "feel-gooder" the day I watched it, and I wasn't disappointed.
78 of 95 people found the following review helpful
In this delightful new holiday movie, Will Ferrell is an innocent named Buddy who was adopted as a baby by Santa and his elves. Having been raised in the North Pole, Buddy has no idea that he is human. However, when he grows up to be a six-footer, he begins to notice that he is physically different from his fellow elves. Much to his chagrin, Buddy's skills as a toymaker are a bit substandard. Finally, Papa Elf sends his ingenuous son to New York City to meet his biological father, played by the gruff James Caan.
This is the classic "fish out of water" plot that has been used in countless movies. How will Buddy, conspicuous in his green and yellow elf costume, with a pointy hat and pointy shoes, behave in New York City? How will Buddy's no-nonsense dad handle the fact that he has fathered a man who thinks he's an elf?
Predictably, Buddy, in his sweet innocence, has trouble adjusting to life in the big city. He wreaks havoc in a department store, exasperates his father, and soon feels lonely and unwanted. All of this works because the actors, including such seasoned veterans as Bob Newhart and Ed Asner, play it absolutely straight. Fortunately, there are only a few of the cloying scenes that often make holiday movies so difficult to take.
Hats off to the director and the special effects crew for delivering some hilarious sight gags and some cool and magical moments. Go see "Elf" with your kids. It is not great cinema, but I think that you will find this movie engaging and amusing holiday entertainment.
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2004
Elf is an unusual movie in this day and age. It is not manipulative and speaks of simple values and simple, true love. I went to see it with my 10-year old, a 28-year old, and a 38-year old (I am 47). We all laughed and cried and came out of the movie amazed that such a simple movie could be so much fun and say so much.
Anytime you have a movie in which the main character is totally innocent and naive, it brings up how calloused and hardened we have all become to the things in life that matter. That's the message of this movie. I highly recommend it and am adding it to my Holiday DVD collection - you can bet we'll watch it every year and some inbetween!
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2004
Elf is a great holiday film driven by an inspired and truly enthusiastic performance by Will Ferrell. Elf is also family friendly as it doesn't sink down to toilet humor (at least not often). I find it refreshing to see a comedy derive laughs by being witty or at least wacky instead of how many fart or sex jokes one can cram in a movie. The writers and directors stay committed to the character of Buddy the Elf and never lets the story drift away from Buddy's world. The movie also has strong and convincing performances from all the supporting actors which definitely adds an air of gravity to the over the top zealousness that Will Ferrell brings to the screen.
I can say with confidence that Elf will be an annual holiday watch. It may not be as deep in message as some of the Christmas movie legends like A Christmas Carol but it contains that one attribute that all Christmas movie greats share, a true belief in the Christmas Spirit.
24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
I see a fair number of movies, but it is only rarely that I leave the theatre feeling I truly got my nine dollars' worth. The last six months have been exceptional for me in that there have been three films which have been more than worth my time and money. The first was "Lost in Translation"; the third was "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"; and the one in the middle was none other than "Elf"!
Oh yes, I kid you not. I am usually not the biggest fan of Christmas movies, but "Elf" kept me smiling for two straight hours. This is no small achievement, especially during the holiday season. James Caan is perfectly cast as Will Ferrell's father, and I was really impressed with Ferrell himself. I always thought he was funny on "Saturday Night Live," but this really is classic stuff. There is no danger of him going the way of Rob Schneider or David Spade, "Old School" notwithstanding. Throw Bob Newhart into the mix and how can you lose?
Roger Ebert said it best: "I thought it would be clunky, stupid and obvious...foisting upon us a chaste romance involving the only girl in America who doesn't know that a man who thinks he is an elf is by definition a pervert.... It took me about 10 seconds of seeing Will Ferrell in the elf costume to realize how very wrong I was.... He convinced me that this was a good movie, and that's a miracle on 34th Street right there."
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Not being a real fan of Saturday Night Live since the days of John Belushi and Bill Murray, my only exposure to Will Farrell came with the movie Old School. And while Farrell was the best part of the film, it wasn't like I would rush right out and see a movie with him as the star...So I missed Elf last year and finally saw it on DVD last night. This is a great holiday movie, and Will Farrell is hilarious. The story of Buddy adjusting to human life after being raised at the North Pole is enchanting, and Farrell's wide-eyed innocence gives you a chuckle as he wanders the streets of New York dressed in his elf attire. This really is a great family movie, kids will love to see Santa and the North Pole, and Buddy's antics will have them laughing as well. But this is not a "Kids" movie in the way that "Santa Clause" is. The jokes also target an older demographic that will have adults laughing too. This is the perfect time of the year to watch Elf, the holidays are right around the corner, and you can't help but catch a little of the Christmas Spirit after watching Elf. Also, any movie that features Bob Newhart's dry humor is worth your viewing. Newhart's Poppa Elf character just had me chuckling whenever he appeared on screen, not since Jack Benny has a comedian been able to express so much by doing so little. Great cast, great writing, great holiday sentiment....you can't ask for more than that.
33 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2004
First of all, this was the funniest film I have ever seen; I was in tears half way through. Yes, it is a kids' movie, but adults get to watch Will Farrel rip the heart out of Christmas by camping it up and being ridiculously sincere. Watching Farrel start a fight with a fake Santa for "sitting on a throne of lies" is about as fun as films get.
Those reviewers who think that this was cheesey nonsense - duh. It was supposed to be, and that is what made it so funny. And you seem to have missed the whole essence of the film.
Oh, and the kids liked it too.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 2004
I thought this movie looked inane when it hit the theatres last season. I poo pooed people I knew plunking down their hard earned money even for a bargain matinee.
This year I overheard it playing in the DVD player when my children were watching - after the third or fourth time hearing lines like "I like to smile, smiling is my favorite!" followed by a stern, "No it's not, from now on work is your favorite."..... well, let's just say the Christmas Spirit was having its way with me.
Buddy is the only human who has ever been to the North Pole. His arrival was perhaps due to the Nun at the orphanage, invoking a sacred "Maybe by next Christmas you will have a home." In waltzes Santa, who somehow misses little baby Buddy climbing into his sack while he was nibbling a cookie left by very generous (believing) Nuns.
He finally finds out he is not an Elf and is sent by his "adoptive" father, Papa Elf, to the "Magical City of New York" to find his father.
James Caan is priceless as Buddy's birth father - and while there are some rather predictable moments, there are also some very surprising, wonderful, engagingly "isn't this what life should be like?" moments.
An example of a silly-yet-so-pure moment was when Buddy walked by a restaurant in "Magical New York City" and saw a sign that declared, "World's Best Coffee". He could not contain himself - he had to go inside and celebrate with the folks inside.
"Congratulations!" his voice boomed. I laughed and laughed and laughed. How often do we take that sort of hyperbole for granted, yawning our way through life? That just wouldn't work for Buddy. He likes to sing loud, laugh loud, cut out snowflakes and, in his authenticity, appear to others (like his long lost father) "certifiably insane."
Until watching "Elf" I had never seen Will Farrell at work. (I am obviously not SNL literate these days.) I really appreciate what I saw from him.
About the bonuses - the Sing Along was great and the menu choices are wonderfully engaging, but the instructions frustrated my daughter. She still hasn't figured out how to play some of the games which makes her quite frustrated.