Too often, holiday films fall short of their potential and leave us feeling empty, failing to capture the essence of the season. Elf, the new comedy featuring Saturday Night Live alum Will Ferrell, delivers on its promise to provide a rousing dose of holiday cheer.
Ferrell has made a living with the raucous, oddball sense of humor that he honed during his years as a cast member on SNL. But in Elf, he takes a markedly different approach, by using his humor to charm both kids and adults alike.
The premise of Elf, albeit not a terribly groundbreaking one, sets us up with the main character, Buddy, as a baby who crawls into Santa’s toy bag and ends up at the North Pole. He is raised by elves until he notices a difference: he is three times bigger than they are. By the time he is old enough to realize he doesn’t fit in, Buddy decides to venture to New York to reunite with his biological father.
What he finds in the big city is a lack of the Christmas spirit, among the people he meets along with his Scrooge-like father and brother. He makes it his goal to fill the hearts of New Yorkers with Christmas cheer, and make the season bright again.
If it wasn’t for the excellent casting of this film, it would end up in the bloated vault of forgettable holiday features, but Will Ferrell really makes the movie come alive. James Caan, Ed Asner and Bob Newhart all add their respective talents to the picture, but Ferrell is the real star here.
Elf exudes the kind of authenticity and a genuine attitude that makes holiday movies great, and adds a little something extra. The humor that only Will Ferrell could bring makes this film a treat for kids and adults.
It is heartwarming, funny and lets you leave the theater feeling genuinely good about the Christmas season.
Don’t expect the same kind of brash humor you know from Ferrell in, say, Old School, but don’t expect to be disappointed either. Let the spirit of the holiday season come alive again and see Elf.
Ross Bercik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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