Movie Review: Elf (2003)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 2003 holiday movie starring Will Ferrell and James Caan.

Synopsis: For the past 30 years, Buddy has been raised by Santa's elves. However, he inadvertently learns the truth about being human and, wanted to know more about who he is and who his father is, travels to New York City. When he gets there, he discovers life in the big city is drastically different from what he is used to and his father (who is on Santa's naughty list) isn't as happy to see him as he had imagined.

Who's in it?


I have always had some mixed opinions about Will Ferrell movies. Some of his films aren't very good while others are just fantastic. This movie falls into that latter category and has been a favorite in our home for years as a result.

I think the thing that I really like about this film is how well written it is. The writers thought of just about everything when it comes to Buddy (Ferrell), such as how he ended up in the North Pole, who raised him (Newhart) and even what kind of foods he and the other elves eat. The last one, in particular, was  very clever and I can't help but laugh every time I see him doctoring up spaghetti with maple syrup, pop tarts and various other sweets.

I also love how he possesses a great deal of Christmas-related skills ranging from being a master of snowball fights to fashioning toys and other decorations out of whatever he can find. This, to me at least, is somewhat funny because, compared to real elves, his skills are lacking and only seem impressive when he's around other humans.

Heck, I even liked the love story between him and Jovie (Deschanel). It was simple, sweet and didn't fall into the trap of using the same tired cliches I've grown so used to seeing in romantic comedies. Of course, to be fair, it was more of a story about a man finding his father and some of those cliches were used in that story. But, having him find a woman that made him happy was still great. 

As far as being a Christmas movie goes, this film was also more than just a comedy. That scene with Santa (Edward Asner) being trapped in Central Park was funny. But, it does manage to get me into the Christmas spirit every time I see it. And, to be very honest, there aren't a lot of movies that I can say that about.

Final Opinion

This is a great holiday film that is a must-watch movie for anyone that is looking for a good laugh and wants to get in the Christmas spirit. Will Ferrell is excellent and his surrounding cast make this a very fun and memorable movie.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 11/17/2016, StevenHelmer
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Mira on 12/01/2014

Sounds like a fun movie :)

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