Released: November 27 2003
Cast: Will Ferrell, Edward Asner, Mary Steenburgen, James Caan, Bob Newhart and Zooey Deschanel
Director: Jon Favreau
Genre: Comedy, Family, Children
Rated: G
Running Time: 96 minutes

This holiday, discover your inner elf.

One Christmas Eve, a long time ago, a small bay crawled into Santa's bag of toys during a stop at an orphanage. Undetected by Santa, the child was accidentally whisked back to the North Pole.

Once discovered, the boy was quickly taken under the wing of Santa's most trusted helper and raised as an elf. But when he grew three sizes larger than everyone else in Santa's workshop, it became clear that Buddy (Will Ferrell) would never truly fit into the elf world.

So Buddy decided to set off for New York City, in search of his roots and his real father. But Buddy soon learns that life in the big city is not all ice-skating and sugar-plums.

My Verdict:
Elf is a delightful movie that can be enjoyed by any age group. Will Ferrell as Buddy is obviously having a great time and it shows as he exudes fun and happiness without sinking into too much schmaltzy drama. Released in time around the world for the festive season it will do well, as this type of feel-good movie is desperately needed against some of the other genres recently released.

Although Will Ferrell may not be too well known in Australia, that doesn't matter as he dead-pans his way around the screen, alerting us to some of the very simple pleasures in life that are often forgotten at this time of year. This movie really is a case of 'can't see the forest for the trees'. Buddy can see so much fun but is initially seen as a little too eccentric. Eventually his mood catches on as he continues along his merry way, claiming and converting his father, his new found half brother, his new step mother and there's even a love interest thrown in as well.

Although sometimes very predictable, don't take that as a reason not to see it. The predictability is secondary to the talent of Will Ferrell, James Caan as Buddy's father and a wonderful performance by Edward Asner as Santa himself. Watch out also for a cameo by the director, Jon Favreau, as the doctor in the earlier part of the movie.

Elf is perfect holiday viewing and reaffirms the traditional Christmas values that are sometimes too easily forgotten. It may well go on to be annual Christmas viewing in your household.

- Christina Bruce


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