I love watching Ferrell do his gangly, clueless shtick, and even here, there's something inherently funny about just seeing him in a big, green elf suit. There's something inherently funny about Ferrell -- period.
Making this pay off without winking at the audience is a difficult task, and 'Elf' doesn't always feel all of a piece. But in 'Saturday Night Live' alumnus and star Will Ferrell, the film has a guide who steers it unerringly over the bumpy patches.
The movie allows Favreau to gently tweak cutesy Mouse House production values without abandoning the concept, and it proves a splendid sandbox for his talents as director, actor and (who knew?) cartoonist.