Released 11/07/2003 Rated: PG
I think this is one of Will Ferrell’s better comedies. Most of his films I just can’t get into, I find them too dumb, but this one works for me. It’s a decent blend of comedy, heart-felt warmth, and holiday spirits. It’s not one of my absolute favorites that I have to make sure I hit every year, but it’s higher on my list than some other Christmas movies out there.
I find this film to be rather clever. They start off by explaining that there are only three jobs available for an elf: a shoe cobbler, baking cookies in a tree (a Keebler Elf), or a Christmas Elf, building toys for children. They also explain why only elves and not other similar creatures can do these jobs: Gnomes drink too much, and Trolls aren’t potty trained to be allowed in the workshop. I love it when a movie expands its world to include other mythical beings/creatures that aren’t normally in conjunction with each other. Santa’s sleigh has a clausometer, measuring overall belief in Santa Claus, which helps make the sleigh fly. When Papa Elf tells Buddy that there are people in the world who don’t believe in Santa, he informs Buddy there’s a rumor running around that the parents are responsible for giving their children gifts. Santa says “The paparazzi have been trying to [catch] me for years,” which I love, because he’s the elusive celebrity; why wouldn’t they try to get a snapshot of Santa? Video footage of Buddy walking through Central Park is similar to classic Big Foot footage. And Buddy even swears with Christmas spirit: “Son of a Nutcracker!”
I love Buddy. He’s so enthusiastic, and energetic, and innocent of the real world. He waves hello to a guy standing on the sidewalk trying to hail a cab! He answers the phone: “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?” And the amount of work he puts in to decorating for Christmas is crazy. I only wish I had the time, talent, and materials to match.
Over all it’s a cute Christmas movie about the importance of family. Luckily, it’s not overshadowed by the subplot for the need to raise belief in Santa Claus, because I’ve had enough of those, honestly. Worth the watch if you don’t mind some over-the-top-ness.