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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.
All Critics (192)
| Top Critics (46)
| Fresh (160)
| Rotten (32)
| DVD (17)
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.
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.
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.
A disarmingly funny holiday comedy.
The film soon bogs down in fake hugs and a fakier climax involving Santa (Ed Asner) and his downed sled.
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.
There are few cinematic ventures that capture the Christmas spirit in such abundance and hit the Holiday target so directly on the nose.
Will Ferrell's over-the-top performance in Elf is one of the reasons why the comedy has managed to stand the test of time.
Families have discovered how funny and how well this little film tells its King-sized holiday message: the only size that counts is how big your heart is.
While his plotting may leave a little to be desired, Favreau directs with speed, humour and efficiency.
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.
Will Ferrell has the ability to turn those wide eyes and that big body into a potent comic weapon, so Elf gets a good number of laughs from his complete, innocent abandonment to his role as a lummox-size elf.
The biggest joke in the shenannigans depicted therein is that a big human being acts like a little one, perhaps THE mainstay of all Will Ferrell's material. Do you think that's funny? Well, if so, then this'll be a laff riot, because that's the entire premise here. In point of fact, nearly every joke in the film can be glossed by the film cover. "Isn't he cute?" If that doesn't crack you up (the possibility exists) then I've done you a favor. Don't mention it.
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
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.
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.
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