Santa can take a whole night to deliver the toys, it’s the elves that do the true work. They have a year to construct a supply of gifts for those that have been good. I have always wonder why they chose elves to do the work. The North Pole must be a magical place if it takes the mythical side of the Santa Claus legend to bring out the toys. I don’t even know that many elves that have been famously portrayed. Since Santa steals most of the spotlight, I feel kind of bad. I don’t even know if elves get paid, or even if they know any form of currency. But that’s the magic of giving; to make toys just for the passion of making a child happy.
But going back to the mythology of elves, I know very little of it. Much of what I understand comes from either the Rankin-Bass cartoons or other Christmas movies. So it only seems right that an entire movie about an elf should be made…well sort of. Elf was the first movie to put comedian Will Ferrell into the leading role of a film. Given his history on Saturday Night Live, then transitioning to a movie should be no problem.
This has a very creative scenario. While Santa is visiting an orphanage, a baby crawls into his sack while he isn’t looking. It’s not until his return to the North Pole that he and elves discover the child inside. Papa Elf (played by Bob Newheart) decides to raise him as his own and name him Buddy. Cut to thirty years later and he his now an adult (played by Will Ferrell) and his looking out of place. He stands taller then everyone (thanks to some creative forced-perspective) and looks nothing like an elf. After an outburst, Papa finally tells Buddy that he’s human and that his father is an arrogant selfish publisher named Walter Hobbs (played by James Caan)
Once Santa tells Buddy that his father is in New York City, the man-elf starts his journey south. He arrives with no trouble, but doesn’t understand that the rest of the world is not as into the Christmas Spirit as the North Pole is. After a couple of visits and a DNA test, Walter knows that Buddy is his son and has to let him move in with his wife Emily (played by Mary Steenburgen) and other son, Michael. With Christmas time looking bleak, it’s up to Buddy to show some real Christmas spirit and spread joy to his father.
Elf is the kind of movie that should have not worked, but does thanks to a talented cast. Will Ferrell plays the perfect innocent, becoming so annoying to everyone that it’s hysterical. But what also surprises me that Elf actually has a good moral about not being afraid to act a little corny around the holidays. By letting ourselves go from the pressure of everyone else’s thoughts, we are free to become as excited as we want about Christmastime.
I’ll give this four and a half elf shoes out of five. This is a great fish out of water comedy. Elf takes every advantage that an elf-man could.