Holiday cheer spreads with Elf, the delightful new family comedy starring Will Ferrell. This movie proves that comedies can be funny without a single raunchy joke, innuendo or otherwise.
Ferrell plays Buddy, an orphaned human who has been raised by elves (namely Bob Newhart). At age 30, he finally realizes that he is not an elf and sets out to New York City to meet his real dad (James Caan). Of course, dressed in green and yellow tights and not knowing the slightest thing about human life, everyone thinks that he is a little off his rocker. But, in the end, the holiday cheer will claim victory.
Usually I avoid such cheesiness, but Elf really is the feel-good movie of the year. It is so lighthearted and innocent that even the most conservative parents can feel safe having their children watch it, yet its jokes, egged on by Ferrell's natural goofiness, can appeal to people of all ages. Whereas most children's movies interlace purely kid's jokes with more adult innuendos, Elf flawlessly makes everyone laugh at the same, innocent intentions. Ferrell and the script work hand-in-hand to deliver one of the more entertaining movies of the fall.
Elf does get a little cheesy at the end as it becomes overloaded with sentimental moments (the mass singing may not appeal to older audience members), but then again, it is a kid's movie. If these two minutes of holiday happiness is the worst that Elf can serve up, then that is a pretty good sign.
As Christmas approaches, Will Ferrell's Elf will undoubtedly remain a strong contender, even with other family movies entering the competition. Furthermore, it will become a classic that will be enjoyed by families for years to come.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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