That time of the year has come to watch Will Ferrell prance around with the rest of Santa’s little helpers in the silly yet hilarious, Elf (2003). Ferrell plays Buddy, a human who found himself stowed away into Santa’s sack and taken away from his orphanage to the North Pole. Life is about to get very interesting for this human come elf.
Once reaching the ripe old age of 30 he finally discovers that he is not actually an elf (if the height difference didn’t give it away I don’t know what would). His Christmas mission once discovering his roots is to find his biological father James Caan, the head of a publishing house in big bad New York City. Buddy remains positive and excited, even after discovering his father has spent most of his life on the ˜Naughty List’. Shock Horror! Prepared with some very poignant advice from Santa, Buddy heads off into the real world with nothing but the love in his heart to guide him, well that and a snow globe of the Empire State Building.
Witnessing Buddy’s entrance into a city, from the point of view of someone that has never experienced traffic, restaurants and buildings before is eye opening and stomach crampingly comical. Never before had I thought that a Zebra crossing could be mistaken for a game of hop scotch or people flagging taxi’s mistaken for friendly waving strangers. Finally figuring out where his father works, being let in to see him as a ˜Christmasgram’ he manages to freak everyone out and get banned from the building.
After his pathetic attempt at bonding with Walter and the cringe worthy song, he ends up in Gimbles the department store, that’s decked out floor to ceiling in Christmas decorations. The perfect place for him in New York. Will Ferrell then begins a display of mayhem by fighting with the ˜fake’ Santa, rifling the managers feathers by spending an evening elaborately decorating the whole toy floor and spying on women showering. Children’s films need love interests too, and the interest comes in the form of Zooey Deschanel, the quirky sales assistant/singer.
Once Walter (Caan) finally believes that Buddy is his son and is invited into their family home, more chaos descends as he passes along his Christmassy ways. Ferrell doesn’t fit in, his actions are far too weird and wonderful even though everything he does is with a pure heart. Never will you see an adult so full of fun and joy all year round especially at Christmas¦if only there were people like this out there the world may be a better place for it.
Will Ferrell, who usually stars in tongue in check comedies such as Old School, Anchorman and Step Brothers, acts completely out of character and defies expectations in this humorous take on the Elf culture; but somehow nails the role. Throughout the whole film my eyes never strayed in case of missing another ridiculous anecdote or scene. His childlike innocence is thoroughly believable, maybe Ferrell’s acting does not get as much recognition as it should. He seems to find a way of relating with any person he works with, young or old, funny or serious. Zooey Deschanel the other protagonist is fabulous in anything she takes part in, she has an unusual way about her that is evident with every role, even more so when she sings.
The only issue I have with the film is James Caan playing the role of his long lost father, Walter. I understand that he comes across as the tough guy but in his older age it now comes across as tedious and repetitive, another actor may well have suited the part. The role that can’t go unmentioned is the entertaining Gimbles manager, Faizon Love. His small but effective part along with facial expressions made it all the more funny when interacting with Ferrell, the two worked well together.