A perfect Holiday treat

 

Elf (2003) Review 5
Director:Jon Favreau,
Starring:Will Ferrell, James Caan
Length:95 minutes
Rated:PG-13

 

 

Budgeted at a mere $33 million (peanuts in today’s big budget environment), New Line took a mildly funny premise and turned it into box office gold when it cast perfectly suited SNL funny man Will Ferrell as the lumbering, dumbfounded human raised by the festive North Pole elf community. So golden in fact, the film finished its theatrical run with over $173 million domestically, making it the second highest grossing film of the 2003 Holiday season, behind only “Return of the King.” It’s a genuine, good-natured family film with a solid script, skillful direction by Jon Favreau, and a top notch performance from Will Ferrell, who carries the film squarely on his back. That’s not to discredit the always great James Caan, who is perfectly cast as the bitter, bah-humbug long lost father to Ferrell’s Buddy.

The story of a human being adopted by Christmas elves, who returns to the human world (New York City) to find his father, may not seem like an idea that could support 95 minutes worth of movie. But the character of Buddy is so well performed by Ferrell, with his perfectly naive aplomb, even the most unflappable will chuckle. Zooey Deschanel as a department store worker and Buddy’s love interest is adorable in a sardonic, Janeane Garofalo way, while director Jon Favreau (“Swingers”) shuttles the movie briskly through all the old Christmas clichés, still managing to pay attention to some of the subtle workings of the American family and the Christmas spirit. A perfect Holiday treat.


Elf (2003) Review 7