Charming Christmas confection--about a boy raised by elves in the North Pole who grows up and journeys to N.Y.C. in search of his biological father--puts a clever spin on even the most familiar gags, successfully walking a fine line between absurdist comedy and holiday schmaltz. Will Ferrell looks like a string-bean in yellow tights and, with his mass of curly hair peeking out from underneath his elf's hat, he could easily be used as a walking punchline. Fortunately, director Jon Favreau's handling of "Elf" is incredibly nimble, treating Ferrell and his naive character Buddy with the utmost respect; you can laugh at all the silly pranks without ever feeling guilty. Favreau's work is smooth, and he's assembled an incredible supporting cast of character actors to back his star, though some may find the climactic moments (involving Edward Asner as Santa Claus) a bit too literal--and the movie is certainly funnier before we get to this point. Still, the special effects are kept to a minimum in order to let the people shine...and that's not only refreshing, it's heart-warming. *** from ****
Comedy / Family
Comedy / Family
Buddy was a baby in an orphanage who stowed away in Santa's sack and ended up at the North Pole. Later, as an adult human who happened to be raised by elves, Santa allows him to go to New York City to find his birth father, Walter Hobbs. Hobbs, on Santa's naughty list for being a heartless jerk, had no idea that Buddy was even born. Buddy, meanwhile, experiences the delights of New York City (and human culture) as only an elf can. When Walter's relationship with Buddy interferes with his job, he is forced to reevaluate his priorities.
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