It’s hard to believe that 2003 gave us both “Bad Santa” and “Elf”. If you have been following along you know that I did “Bad Santa” a few days ago and “Elf” couldn’t be any different. I spent the next several years answering my phone “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?” much to the chagrin of anyone calling. I’m also one of those people who drop “Elf” memes on social media and expects that everyone knows the context.
Buddy (Will Ferrell) has been raised as an elf at the North Pole. Upon discovering he is actually human, he makes the trip south past the swirly twirly gumdrops to New York City in search of his father, Walter (James Caan). Walter is a stressed out childrens book editor who is at risk of losing his job. When he discovers he has an adult son he is less than pleased.
Buddy also finds his way to Gimbols, a NYC department store. There he meets Jovie (Zooey Deschanal) as she works dressed as an elf in Santa’s workshop. No one really believes Buddy is an elf until Santa crash lands in Central Park on Christmas Eve and Buddy is forced to help him.
The film is oozing holiday cuteness, but I let it slide because it’s pretty well made. There’s even a musical number that proves that Mary Steenburgen is the worst singer in Hollywood but it doesn’t detract from her acting abilities. In fact, its pretty endearing. Buddy, of course, saves Christmas with the help of Jovie singing loud for all to hear and Walter finally choosing his family over his job.
Peter Dinklage also stars as a childrens book writer who carries with him a lifetimes worth of anger over being referred to as an elf. Not the type of person you would expect to be a famous writer of kids books but Walter really shouldn’t be editing them either. It says a lot about corporations without actually meaning to.
Watch this with some hot chocolate and cookies and try not to cringe when Will Farrell dumps half a bottle of syrup on spaghetti noodles.