Elf (2003)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

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.

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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 Newhart. ~ Matthew Tobey, Rovi
Rating:
PG (for some mild rude humor and language)
Genre:
Comedy , Kids & Family , Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Box Office:
$173,400,000.00
Runtime:
Studio:

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Cast

Andy Richter
as Morris
Peter Dinklage
as Mile Finch
Jon Favreau
as Doctor
Bob Newhart
as Papa Elf
James Caan
as Walter
Faizon Love
as Gimbel's Manager
Artie Lange
as Gimbels Santa
Brad Turner
as Office Co-Worker
Ray Harryhausen
as Polar Bear Cub
Kyle Gass
as Eugene
Matt Walsh
as Himself
Daniel Tay
as Michael
Brenda Crichlow
as Office Co-Worker
Will McCormack
as Witness
Jane Bradbury
as Susan Welles
Michael Roberds
as Disgruntled Cobbler Elf
Kristian Ayre
as Foom Foom
Mark Acheson
as Mailroom Guy
Mary Black
as Nurse
Ted Friend
as NY 1 Anchor
Annie Brebner
as Elf Student
Patrick McCartney
as Security Guard
Leon Redbone
as Leon the Snowman
Richard Side
as Elf Teacher
David Berenbaum
as Office Co-Worker
Oscar Goncalves
as Francisco
Lorin Heath
as Perfume Clerk
Claire Lautier
as NY 1 Reporter
Patrick Ferrell
as Security Guard
Paul Schofield
as Kid with Santa
Peter Hulne
as Elf Twin
Luke Paul
as Elf Student
Patrick Hulne
as Elf Twin
Murray Jack
as Man in Elevator
Gus Michael
as Witness
Terry J. Scarlatos
as Police Officer
Akeen A. Smith
as School Kid
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Critic Reviews for Elf

All Critics (188) | 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
Newsweek
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

The film soon bogs down in fake hugs and a fakier climax involving Santa (Ed Asner) and his downed sled.

Full Review… | November 27, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Some humour might sail over the heads of the very young, but there's a higher chuckle rate for the grown-ups than much dread 'family' fare.

Full Review… | January 25, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

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
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
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

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