December 23, 2011

Christmas Bonus: Elf
by Laura

Here’s a Christmas bonus I think you can all appreciate: Elf! Knowing that Elf is a popular Christmas movie that hadn’t made my list this year, the lovely Laura took time out of her busy schedule to watch this with me and write it up for you. Enjoy!  —DocSmartypants

Elf (2003) Will Ferrell, Ed Asner, Bob Newhart, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel

Elf is the story of a human baby who accidently gets transported to the North Pole on Christmas eve and is raised as an elf. The baby grows up to be Buddy (Ferrell), the largest and least productive “elf” Santa’s workshop has ever known. After a few too many bad days on the assembly line, Buddy’s true human nature is finally revealed to him and he embarks on a quest to New York City to find his biological father (Caan). The quest is complicated by the fact that Buddy’s dad, a high-powered publishing executive is *gasp* on Santa’s naughty list! Many adventures follow and Buddy ultimately triumphs in connecting with his father, finding love, and saving Christmas.

Elf is probably the last Christmas movie I saw in a theater, and I loved it immediately. It is the youngest film on my must-see Christmas movie list by about 50 years. Even after many, many viewings, I still find Elf positively charming. I love the jazzy soundtrack, I love the homage to other beloved Christmas specials, I love Ed Asner’s long-suffering Santa, I love that Zooey Deschanel doesn’t destroy this movie by her very presence. Seriously. I think this is the ONLY movie Deschanel hasn’t made unwatchable for me. You could paint eyes on a toaster and get a more dynamic performance than Deschanel seems capable of, but I digress. Elf succeeds as an adorable Christmas film despite the unfortunate love-interest casting choice.

The best part of the film by far is Will Ferrell’s wide-eyed, cheerful, innocent, trusting portrayal of the man/elf Buddy. This film is marketed as a family-friendly movie kids will love. And it is. Plenty of stuff here for the kiddos. But, at its heart, Elf is for adults. Most of the characters in the movie are busy, somewhat cynical people who enjoy the holiday season on some level but have come to view it primarily as another set of obligations to add to their already bursting schedules. None of these people have any idea what to do with Buddy, this man who loves everything about Christmas, takes people at their word, and can barely navigate daily life in New York.

Buddy is the embodiment of Christmas spirit and childlike wonder. He doesn’t have any special powers, he is a human after all, but he ends up saving Christmas because he inspires others to lower their defenses and tap into their own Christmas spirit. (He also helps fix Santa’s sleigh after it crashes in Central Park.) I think I find Elf so appealing because it shows a man who unabashedly loves Christmas and isn’t afraid to proclaim it loudly. Buddy’s character is a like a bridge from harried adulthood to a time when Christmas was magical because ANYTHING was possible.

If you only watch one minute of Elf, it should be this minute:

posted under Media
6 Comments to

“Christmas Bonus: Elf”

  1. On December 23rd, 2011 at 12:18 pm docsmartypants Says:

    SANTAAAAAA!!! OHMYGOD!!!

  2. On December 23rd, 2011 at 12:23 pm Laura Says:

    Ms. Deschanel, if you ever read this, please know that while I do not enjoy your acting style, I will continue to assume you are lovely and worthwhile human being until proven otherwise.

  3. On December 23rd, 2011 at 4:56 pm docsmartypants Says:

    Oh yes, that reminds me: “You could paint eyes on a toaster and get a more dynamic performance than Deschanel seems capable of…” may be the single most perfect description of her “acting abilities” that I have ever read.

  4. On December 23rd, 2011 at 8:04 pm Rockport Mom & Dad Says:

    I love Elf. It makes me laugh out loud. I love the scene when she’s in the shower singing and he joins in. (I might find him too sweetly excited by life to believe if I did not live with docsmartypants’ father.) The ending drags on a bit long- I feel like saying “OK Santa, get your butt off the ground.” But all in all it is a favorite.

  5. On December 23rd, 2011 at 11:26 pm Stacey Says:

    Awww, this was a sweet review!

  6. On December 29th, 2011 at 7:55 pm Ghetto Booty (AKA Courtney :)) Says:

    ELF rocks! 🙂

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