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!
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or comment below if you have any
questions about the series!