Elf (2003)

Ⓒ New Line Cinema
Ⓒ New Line Cinema

Director: Jon Favreau Cast: Will Ferrell, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Bob Newhart, Mary Steenburgen

Buddy, a man who was adopted by Santa’s elves as a baby, finds out who his real father is and travels to New York to find him. He struggles to adapt to human behaviour and customs, and also annoys his biological dad no end. But when Santa crash lands in Central Park on Christmas Eve, only Buddy can help him.

Elf is probably one of the most popular Christmas films out there, and it is easy to see why. It’s a great family film, with humour that’s appropriate for kids but also with a few slightly more subtle adult jokes thrown in there. Elf is undeniably Christmassy, with adventures taking place in Santa’s workshop and New York (one of the best cities at embracing the festive spirit), and with the classic Christmas themes of family, friendship, and mean old scrooges being won over. But it also doesn’t take itself too seriously, and in a way makes a joke of itself, with Buddy’s ridiculously over-the-top love of the festive season.

For those who aren’t Will Ferrell fans, this might not be the best film to watch, since he plays a very similar character to many of his other roles. However, Buddy is probably one his more inoffensive or harmless characters, and there are enough other main characters to make the story not just about him; it’s enjoyable to see James Caan in a more family-orientated film, playing a less intense role.

If you’re feeling like you haven’t quite got into the Christmas season yet, Elf is a great film to start things off. It’s funny, amazingly festive, and easy to watch for all ages.

4 stars

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