• Gareth Crook

Elf (2003)

If you love Elf, maybe best to stop reading now. I’ve never seen Elf. I don’t like Will Ferrell. I’m not keen on Christmas films and I never watch any film on live TV with adverts. This, is a gamble. Everyone seems to love this though don’t they. So it’s Christmas Eve, it’s on tele, let’s give it a go. Buddy (Ferrell) is an elf. Well not really, he’s human and that’s the joke right there. Baby buddy encounters Santa at an orphanage, crawls into his sack, finds himself back at the grotto and gets adopted by Bob Newhart, Papa Elf. Buddy is a shit elf and eventually figures out he’s human. Ferrell does look funny. Especially dressed as an elf in the quirky old ball world that is Lapland. He’s not gonna stay there though. Buddy heads to New York to find his real father, Walter (James Caan). This location switch is the comic hook. The farce of having a giant elf wandering around NYC. The outsider story, not understanding the big bad world of the big city. I have laughed, but I’m also already a little bored. Then there’s an ad break, at which point my youngest declares “Right, phones out!” This is by far the funniest thing that’s happened so far. Buddy negotiates escalators, gets startled by PAs and mistaken for a Christmas worker in a department store, where he falls in love and debeards a fake Santa, getting him arrested and bailed out by his dad... who accepts him only after a DNA test and thinks he’s nuts. He is of course, but only in the fun naive innocent sort of way. Walter is a crank, workaholic. He needs Buddy more than he knows. Failing at work, he needs some joy and positivity, some Christmas spirit. He’s reluctant of course, but predictably Buddy will turn him around and save the day. It’s a bit funny, very silly, but considering how much this film is loved, I expected a lot more. It’s generic comedy and I still don’t like Ferrell, but it does have heart. Schmaltzy, predictable, sickly sweet heart. I’m aware I’m setting myself up for accusations of having no Christmas spirit and I’m why Santa’s Sleigh won’t fly, which is the premise of the finale, while Santa gets chased through Central Park by the park police on horseback, but this really isn’t for me. I like Christmas. I don’t like Elf and aside Anchorman I’ve not seen Ferrell in anything that’s any good. Bah!

4/10


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