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Overall Rating
3.97

Awesome: 32.14%
Worth A Look49.11%
Average: 8.04%
Pretty Bad: 5.36%
Total Crap: 5.36%

6 reviews, 76 user ratings



Elf
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by Natasha Theobald

"Chuckles abound."
4 stars

It's hard to find a holiday film that doesn't become irritating the second said holiday is over for another year. It's even harder to find a movie that makes you laugh at stuff you already saw and laughed at in the trailer. I waited way too long to see this movie, but that did nothing to diminish the joyous good time it offers. Will Ferrell's complete and utter commitment to his character gives this story the necessary center around which the rest can revolve. He doesn't wink at the audience even once. He is Buddy the Elf, and you have to love him for it.

Buddy has always known that he is a bit different from the other elves, but that doesn't make the news that he is actually a human in elf clothing any less shocking for him. It seems he hitched a ride with Santa by chance as a tot, escaping life in an orphanage for a life of service to magic. He has his dad (Bob Newhart), elf friends, and Santa (Ed Asner), but he never feels that he has the talent to be an elf. So, once his secret is out, he decides to set off in search of himself. He travels to New York to find his human father (James Caan).

Buddy is shocked to learn that the magic of Christmas has been diminished through the years in human hearts. He does the best he can to spread his infectious cheer and good will, but there are few takers. His father is less than pleased to learn he has a son he never knew about who wears tights and talks about Santa a lot. The manager of a department store is less than pleased when Buddy announces to a group of children that the Santa before them is not real. Buddy does find some allies, though, from his father's secretary (Amy Sedaris - yeah!) to a new friend who only plays at being an elf (Zooey Deschanel). Growingly, people begin to appreciate his enthusiasm and honesty, even if everything that comes out of his mouth seems kinda nuts.

As I said, Will Ferrell gives Buddy so much energy and heart that you can't help but want to embrace his spirit. Without him, this movie would not be what it is - a delightful holiday tale for the ages. He is funny and sweet and completely unfazed by any reality which may try to encroach upon him. He is ably supported by everyone mentioned above and many more. There are lots of people with funny bits. The funny is blended with a feel-good, family-friendly side that takes "Elf" to the next level. It will likely join the ranks of other holiday must-see comedies, from "Christmas Vacation" to "A Christmas Story."

The story is good, though it feels like some scenes were chopped a bit to keep the family-friendly ninety minute length. The script is engaging, though at times a little silly, but all is forgiven if the funny keeps a-comin', which it does. Director Jon Favreau makes fabulous visual use of the size difference between Buddy and the elves. It's a gentle physical comedy element that gives the kiddies giggles and the parents a guffaw or two. There are a couple of gross moments to make you cringe and some sweet happy stuff to make you smile. All in all, "Elf" is a good time at the movies.

As fond as I was of this, I really hope there won't be a sequel. Frankly, I just want Will Ferrell to stretch further and do more. I think he is so funny and so genuine, and I don't want what he has to offer to be diminished creatively by going to the same well twice. Here's hoping.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8293&reviewer=317
originally posted: 01/21/04 17:09:24
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User Comments

12/25/13 Charles Tatum Fun stuff, with energetic cast and direction 4 stars
12/14/10 zenny If you don't like this movie, you're a heartless grinch 5 stars
12/24/09 MP Bartley Funny and kinda sweet, despite plot sinkholes. Ferrell is terrific. 4 stars
12/16/09 A Girl it puts you in the mood? hahahahha 4 stars
1/10/09 Anonymous. i watch this every christmas and it definitely puts me in the mood :] 4 stars
11/17/08 Samantha Pruitt Will Ferrell is really great in it, one movie where he isn't just playing himself! 4 stars
9/04/08 Rachel Not as funny as I'd hoped. Will Ferrell does best at non-PG comedy. 3 stars
8/19/08 Shaun Wallner Will Farrell makes some great films! 5 stars
5/16/08 PAUL SHORTT ITS JUST GOOD, CLEAN FUN 3 stars
1/12/08 Pamela White makes a yearly Christmas one to watch 4 stars
6/15/07 Vincent Ebriega A very funny Christmas family movie. Better than expected. 3.5/5. 4 stars
1/03/07 Buddy I like to smile. Smiling's my favorite. 5 stars
12/05/06 Stanley Thai A funny, enjoyable film. It's really good. 4 stars
11/19/06 Ionicera predictable, sorta dumb, but still fun 3 stars
9/03/06 Dragon The Artist Cute, but I wish Ferrell would ditch his half-retarded infantile characters 2 stars
11/23/05 Ambiedextris LOVED IT! It was hilarious! 5 stars
9/08/05 Tom Burns This is the funniest holiday movie in years. 5 stars
8/18/05 ES Could have been better, ferrel is an old dog with no new tricks 3 stars
7/16/05 Charlie Ferrell is great (just like in Anchorman), but the rest of the movie is average. 4 stars
7/10/05 JFK not that good. 3 stars
4/01/05 Carolyn Cherry Hilarious 5 stars
3/26/05 Denise not that funny 2 stars
3/25/05 Valerie One of the best Christmas movies ever! 5 stars
3/25/05 Abbi Feel good film, still makes me laugh 5 stars
2/23/05 gracecchu This was such a funny movie, any time of the year! 4 stars
2/21/05 david basile very funny origanal comedy 5 stars
2/19/05 Diane Stahlman THOUGHT IT WOULD BE FUNNIER 3 stars
2/17/05 Lisa Jochelson Will Ferrell at his stupid comedy best. 4 stars
2/15/05 Christine I thought it was entertaining 4 stars
2/14/05 Angela Saunders Hilarious! Born to be the next Christmas classic! 4 stars
2/13/05 Charlene Javier Better than expected. 4 stars
2/12/05 Ig Didn't like the movie 2 stars
2/10/05 Colleen Goldrick Hysterical and Very Silly 4 stars
2/02/05 BobbysRedQueen My Family enjoyed seeing Elf, especially the kids ! 4 stars
1/17/05 HL Aside from a few funny bits..just stupid crap... 2 stars
1/05/05 HotGirl Way better than I thought it would be. Funny and Touching. 4 stars
12/30/04 Debra Sherman a warm fuzzy for Christmas 4 stars
12/28/04 Jim Some amusing nonsense, some plain old silliness. 4 stars
12/28/04 efrain really funny. simple and sorta family-friendly 4 stars
12/27/04 Alex Ferrell Kills it!! 5 stars
12/25/04 Freddy mostly annoying, not very funny 1 stars
12/25/04 Charlene Javier Unexpectedly funny! 4 stars
11/18/04 Jews for Hitler Pretty funny stuff. Grossed out girlfriend with the spaghetti/poptarts/syrup scene. 5 stars
11/16/04 Dunce Farrel & Newhart - always funny, but this movies isn't. Worth a rental. 3 stars
11/08/04 da hood awp! what the fuck! 1 stars
11/07/04 Evan garbage. kids will love it 1 stars
8/26/04 jmsynth Kids will probably love it. Adults should see "Bad Santa" intsead 2 stars
7/25/04 DM Gets corny towards the end, but has some funny parts 3 stars
7/15/04 S.F What the hell was the ending all about and the chick who sings like a reject from 'Annie'? 1 stars
5/16/04 Idiot's Mouth "Sweet"? "Sensitive"? That is GAY. Farrell is a retard, like all SNL "actors". Save$! AVOID 1 stars
2/04/04 Chris I loved this movie alot. One of the top 10 christmas movies of all time. :) 5 stars
1/02/04 Jon Lyrik Middle somewhat sags, but a funny and sweet movie and maybe even a new Christmas classic. 4 stars
12/26/03 Wolf MUCH Better than I thot it would be; and Zooey's voice is *soo* sexy... :) 5 stars
12/26/03 Marcia Lartz Promising start; Middle DRAGS; Ending sort of okay. 3 stars
12/01/03 NoRefill Good mix of adult and child humor. W. Ferrell's style compliments film well. 4 stars
11/29/03 Emperor's New Clothes? Nope. Just a Fat, Ugly, Naked, Guy. Fell asleep. Maybe I have no sense of humor. Maybe the rest of you don't. 2 stars
11/29/03 k a LOT of fun... just see it 4 stars
11/27/03 Amanda This movie is very funy 5 stars
11/27/03 he a good film 4 stars
11/25/03 Troy Butler 4.5 stars, ... really enjoyable, fun for all ages!!! Highly Recommended!!! 5 stars
11/25/03 Pat Brink This movie is great! See it now...and see it every Christmas! 5 stars
11/23/03 Flick Chick you'll like it, the kids will love it. 4 stars
11/23/03 Nicole Cute & funny 4 stars
11/16/03 bullit16 Very cute. Laugh out loud funny. 4 stars
11/16/03 Jaime I loved this movie!! It was really worth seeing:) 5 stars
11/12/03 Dee Soon to be a Christmas classic 5 stars
11/12/03 nick2k not bad....plus amy sedaris, andy richter, kyle gass, and matt walsh is in it!!! 4 stars
11/12/03 Two-G - horror_blood2 (aka Double G) Hilarious Movie! 5 stars
11/11/03 Cameron Slick Ferrell is just as funny in this one as he was in Old School, only on a different field. 4 stars
11/10/03 OSU1992 OHMYGOD this movie sucked. 1 stars
11/10/03 kaori lost it was sooooo cute and funny. A film with lots of heart. 5 stars
11/10/03 Miss B. Haven SANTAAAAA!!!!!OH MY GOD!!!!! i know him!! funny, sweet movie 5 stars
11/09/03 George Jung Amazing. 5 stars
11/08/03 Vicious Ferrell was great. 4 stars
11/08/03 Blubberbot Very funny 5 stars
11/07/03 Boombah Baby Surprisingly great. Nice job, Ferrell and Favreau! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  07-Nov-2003 (PG)
  DVD: 26-Oct-2010

UK
  N/A

Australia
  27-Nov-2003


Directed by
  Jon Favreau

Written by
  David Berenbaum

Cast
  Will Ferrell
  James Caan
  Zooey Deschanel
  Bob Newhart
  Ed Asner
  Mary Steenburgen



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