Elf (2003)



Critic Consensus: A movie full of Yuletide cheer, Elf is a spirited, good-natured family comedy, and it benefits greatly from Will Ferrell's funny and charming performance as one of Santa's biggest helpers.

Movie Info

For his sophomore stab at directing, actor/writer/director Jon Favreau (Swingers, Made), took on this holiday comedy starring Saturday Night Live-alum Will Ferrell. Ferrell stars as Buddy, a regular-sized man who was raised as an elf by Santa Claus (Edward Asner). When the news is finally broken to Buddy that he's not a real elf, he decides to head back to his place of birth, New York City, in search of his biological family. Elf also stars James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Zooey Deschanel, and Bob … More

Rating: PG (for some mild rude humor and language)
Genre: Kids & Family, Comedy, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: David Berenbaum, Jon Favreau
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 16, 2004
Box Office: $173.4M
New Line Cinema - Official Site


as Walter

as Papa Elf

as Michael

as Gimbel's Manager

as Mile Finch

as Morris

as Eugene

as Gimbels Santa

as NY 1 Reporter

as NY 1 Anchor

as Security Guard

as Security Guard

as Elf Student

as Elf Student

as Disgruntled Cobbler ...

as Elf Twin

as Elf Twin

as Elf Teacher

as Foom Foom

as Perfume Clerk

as Office Co-Worker

as Office Co-Worker

as Office Co-Worker

as Francisco

as Nurse

as Man in Elevator

as Mailroom Guy

as Kid with Santa

as Himself

as Witness

as Witness

as Police Officer

as School Kid

as Susan Welles

as Leon the Snowman

as Polar Bear Cub
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Elf

Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.


Critic Reviews for Elf

All Critics (185) | Top Critics (45)

Ferrell is a hoot. So is much of this witty holiday family entertainment, which, up until the end, when the "true spirit of Christmas" must be reaffirmed, happily favors slapstick over treacle.

Full Review… | December 14, 2014
Top Critic

Sure, Elf feels a little too feel-good at the end, but what do you expect? It's a Christmas movie! Anything else would be the cinematic equivalent of finding coal in your stocking.

Full Review… | December 4, 2013
Associated Press
Top Critic

The cast wrings laughs out of David Berenbaum's script as if it were a damp washcloth, but even they have trouble selling frenetic button-pushing as the Christmas spirit.

Full Review… | December 4, 2013
AV Club
Top Critic

A disarmingly funny holiday comedy.

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

While his plotting may leave a little to be desired, Favreau directs with speed, humour and efficiency.

Full Review… | December 14, 2014
This is London

Raise a glass of cheer to Ferrell and Favreau. They might not have created a full-scale holiday classic here, but they've certainly given us a fresh, sparkly new bauble to hang on our perennial tree.

Full Review… | December 14, 2014
Tulsa World

Audience Reviews for Elf

Oddly executed plot along with a joyously flare makes this Christmas comedy a success. Elf is the typical holiday film that's entertaining and strong, all thanks to a vibrant Will Ferrell. 4/5

Eugene Bernabe
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer

One of the better Christmas movies. This is pretty cute and Will Farrell plays his adult moron (sorry, elf) role well. I love Zooey Deschanel as well - I would watch this just to hear her sing Baby it's Cold Outside. (I was so disappointed that on the She & Him Xmas album, the guy does the lead vocal on that song).
I pretty much hate kids movies, but I have watched this one many times and enjoyed it.

Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

Buddy is a man raised who was by Santa and his elves up in the North Pole since he was a baby finally learns the truth about his life and sets off to New York City to find his biological father in this heartwarming, whimsical, and hilarious family comedy from Jon Favreau.

IThe premise is a fun take on the fish out of water tale, the script is mostly pretty sharp, and the central performance from Will Ferrell is one of the funniest comedic roles of all time. He absolutely sells it, and you honestly believe every minute of it, which is a Christmas miracle since it could have been so easy to mess up. He doesn't though, and it is an absolute joy to watch. James Caan is likewise pretty fun as Buddy's biological father Walter in the requisite Grinch/Scrooge type of role. Mary Steenburgen and Daniel Tay are decent as Walter's wife Emily and son Michael, and Zooey Deschanel is quite fine as Jovie- Buddy's love interest and co-worker at a department store. We also get Bob Newhart as Buddy's adoptive elf dad and Ed Asner as Santa. My favorite supporting character though has to be Faizon Love as the no-nonsense manager of the department store.

Like I said, the script is pretty sharp for the most part, but it's not perfect. The film is rather formulaic, and some of the stuff with Michael and Jovie fall a bit flat at times. The effects are mostly good, the music is fine, and overall this is a very delightful holiday film I solidly recommend.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Elf Quotes

– Submitted by Danny O (22 months ago)
– Submitted by Chris G (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Vic P (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Vic P (2 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss Elf on our Movie forum!