Will Ferrell is just the right person to play Buddy, he encapsulates a childish joy and wonder that is very endearing and performs some great slap stick jokes. James Caan plays Walter, Buddy's father, and is suitably grumpy and curmudgeonly and Bob Newhart adds to some great dry humour as Papa Elf. Zooey Deschanel as Jovie has a nice singing voice but her character doesn't get very much development so she's essentially just a love interest for Buddy.
There's a nice mixture of humour in Elf. There are enough, burp jokes, fart jokes and slap stick scenes that will make the kids laugh and enough drier, more mature jokes to keep adults entertained as well. It takes a little while to set up the premise of the film and get to the main thrust of the plot but once Buddy gets to New York the pace picks up a bit and remains fairly consistent for the rest of the film.
There are some issues with poor CGI, green screen work and animation. However the majority of the scenes in New York look great and the soundtrack is appropriately jovial and catchy without relying too heavily on overplayed Christmas songs.
All in all, no this isn't an Oscar worthy film but it's a funny, family film about Christmas cheer and believing in Santa that is genuinely enjoyable. What more could you ask for from a Christmas film?
?You must be a South Pole elf?. Classic!
Imaginative and true to self.