November 8, 2003

ELF: Capsule Review

Maggie and I took the kids to see Elf today. We're fans of Will Ferrell, so our attendance was inevitable.

For those who haven't seen the trailers, it's a film about a man who was raised by Christmas elves, and subsequently seeks out his father in New York city.

The film is powered by Ferrell's energy and his wide-eyed wonder. It's cute, and quite a bit of fun. On the negative side, the plot of the film does not feel like it flows forward naturally, but rather as if it is forced. What saves the film is the sincerity with which Ferrell can pull off the Buddy the Elf character and how his kindness rubs off on the other people in the film.

Buddy's effect on people is summarized in his relationship with Jovie, played by Zooey Deschanel. At first, she's pretty weirded out by Buddy, but the kindness that underscores his actions shines through what he does, and she's quickly intrigued and then enamored of him. As an audience, we don't get too emotionally involved with him, there isn't time for it. The director sticks to the strength of Buddy, which is Ferrell's goofy portrayal.

As a Christmas movie, the message is decent. It isn't really about accepting Buddy, or believing in Santa Clause (which it might seem to be on the surface). It's really about believing in ourselves and letting everything else follow.

The kids enjoyed it, but it isn't paced as well as most kid movies. This one is better meant for young-at-heart adults.

Posted by James at November 8, 2003 3:54 PM
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