12 Films of Christmas 2013: Elf


Time for another Christmas film! I hope that your day has been as holly and jolly as a Tuesday can possibly be, but if you’re feeling a little like a Grinch, here’s something that might give you some cheer: Christmas Eve is ONE WEEK from today! …Actually, I hope that didn’t just stress you out. Let me rephrase: You still have A WHOLE WEEK to finish up shopping! Is that better? Anyway, I’ve covered six Films of Christmas so far, and I’m pleased as punch that I get to discuss another personal favorite. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea—particularly because of the lead actor—but I think it’s incredibly cute and a ton of fun. Whether you like it or not, for the seventh film of Christmas my local library gave to me…Elf with Will Ferrell!

Elf (2003)


Synopsis: “After inadvertently wreaking havoc on the elf community due to his ungainly size, a man raised as an elf at the North Pole is sent to the U.S. in search of his true identity.” –www.imdb.com

The Holly Jolly:

  • Will Ferrell. As I said, I realize a lot of people don’t care for him, but I think he’s brilliant as Buddy the elf. Ferrell tends to play immature characters, but normally they’re obnoxious and rude. Buddy is simply sweet and lovably, laughably clueless. Ferrell pulls off this naivety and warm-hearted nature flawlessly.
  • The premise. A man raised by elves is shocked to discover his human heritage, and he travels from the North Pole to New York City to track down his real father, who is a notorious Grinch. It’s cute, it’s funny, and it’s very original. Watching Buddy tackle both life in NYC and a relationship with his newfound father is priceless.
  • The settings. Not only is the North Pole filled adorable animations, but NYC during the holidays is simply the best. Plenty of fun and pretty scenery in this one.
  • The cast. I already mentioned Ferrell, of course, but James Caan as Buddy’s grumpy father? Wonderful. Bob Newhart as sad-faced Papa Elf? Perfect. Peter Dinklage as a demanding, temperamental children’s author? Hilarious. Zooey Deschanel as sweet love interest Jovie? Too cute (apologies to those of you who don’t like her). I could go on, but in short, the casting is pretty spot-on.
  • The ending. It’s funny and heartwarming with a touch of magic. Really, can you ask much more of the end of a Christmas film?

The Lumps of Coal:

  • Though it’s cute to watch his animated travels, how Buddy gets from the North Pole to NYC is quite a puzzle. He’s suddenly just…there. Couldn’t we have explained this by Buddy borrowing a reindeer or something?
  • A scene pivotal to the Buddy-Jovie relationship occurs when Buddy hears Jovie singing a Christmas tune in the shower. Here’s the weird part: the shower is in a department store bathroom. Now I’ve never worked retail in NYC, but it doesn’t seem likely to me that they would have a shower in there—even if it were only for employees only. I mean, we didn’t have an employee shower when I worked at Macy’s…
  • Santa just so happens to show up in a place where Buddy can help him? Buddy’s father and half-brother just so happen to track him down in the vast expanse of NYC? Nearly everyone in the city just so happens to be tuned in to the same news channel? Though the end of this film is fun, it’s also extraordinarily convenient.
  • Will Ferrell. Though I love him in this film, you might not. Some people can only take so much of him. In his defense, I do think this is quite possibly his best and most lovable role, but even that might not be enough for anti-Ferrell folk.

In a Nutcracker’s Nutshell: If you’re a Will Ferrell fan, you will probably enjoy Elf immensely. Heck, you might even enjoy it if you typically aren’t a fan. I think it has enough hilarious content to make it enjoyable for a wide range of ages, which makes it a great family film. This one’s definitely among my favorite Christmas comedies.

My Glad Tidings: A-

Seven down, five to go! I’ve at least gotten past the halfway point now. Remind me to get going on these Christmas films earlier next year…Hey! While I’m thinking about this, has anybody settled on a film for the Resolutions series in January (read about that here)? No pressure on a decision—I only ask because Mr. IPC just informed me that he will be tackling The Godfather, which ought to be great. 😀 Feel free to shoot me an email (cs227@evansville.edu) or comment below if you have any
questions about the series!

37 thoughts on “12 Films of Christmas 2013: Elf

  1. HAHA – given the fact that I HATE Will Ferrell – I don’t think this one is too bad. But I think that’s because I despise Fred Claus and this one isn’t as nerve grating… : )

    Nice work!!

  2. I liked Elf! I’m a Ferrell fan too. Mostly. ;D

    For your Resolutions series I was toying with It’s A Wonderful Life, what do you think? I’ve never seen it though that might be a bit of a serious one.

  3. I remember seeing this in the theater as a kid for our countywide D.A.R.E. something or other (no idea why but whatever). Still great then as it is now. By the way, I changed my mind for the Resolutions entry. I’m now doing Fritz the Cat (no not like that!).

  4. Reblogged this on Silver Screen Serenade and commented:

    Switching things up today by sharing another Christmas post from last year–another pretty awesome holiday choice, in my humble opinion, and quite possibly Will Ferrell’s best role. I’m talking, of course, about Elf.

  5. Nice work! I am one of those people that don’t care much for Will Ferrell. There are few things that he doesn’t work on my last nerve in, so yeah. I know a lot of people have a seriously soft spot for this movie, but it never really worked for me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s