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Starring: Will Ferrell, James Caan, Ed Asner, Zooey Deschanel, Daniel Tay, Marysteenshipburgenegrenenen, and Bob Newhart
Directed by: Jon Favreau
Screenwriter: David Berenbaum
Rated: PG (though I saw nothing the least bit "PG-y")


If you and yours see one film after your feast of pheasants make it this incredibly precious, delightfully sweet instant holiday classic Elf .

Story goes...Buddy (Will Ferrell) was adopted as wee human into the world of elves. He's accepted by the petite perky lot and welcomed as their own.

He does however start to grow into a man size human which in the North Pole - a place we all know is designed for elven folks - is not such a great thing, physically speaking. Poor Bud comes complete with all these human idiosyncrasies; like the inability to mass-produce toys and of course height.

The time has come (as Buddy's about thirty-three) for Papa Elf (Bob Newhart), Buddy's adoptive father, to sit dear B. down and tell him about his being adopted. Buddy was starting to "sense" he wasn't exactly like the others...

Papa Elf tells him his real father can be found in New York City.

Buddy needs to belong, somewhere, so he ventures forth through the forest of candy canes and the twirly swirly sea of glitter to meet his father. He brings with him a heart as pure as first fallen snow and an enthusiasm even the hardest of city-dwelling corporate drones can't help but warm to.

As you'd expect a man raised by elves in New York City is going to pose some problems - big funny adorable problems...

Along the way to his new human filled life he will meet a great girl (Zooey Deschanel), find out he's got a little (but not elf-like) brother (Daniel Tay), and have to adjust to wearing a bit more then yellow tights with a form fitting hand embroidered felt smock...

Buddy also teaches an entire city to believe again! Elf's a simple tale that'll have you smiling ear to ear with toes tapping and your heart full of Christmas cheer by its end. Bravo.

Will Ferrell is, himself, a big old Christmas present complete with all the comic trimmings. He's positively hilarious - as always - as the wide-eyed gleeful Elf out-of-water. He's a cross between a six-month-old puppy and a Mother Goose definition of precious. Now how'd he do that? Oh, right...genius. See, the perpetual snort causing mega-talent Will Ferrell comes from the infamous Groundlings training grounds (they are a big swanky comedy school - the biggest after Second City -- which is technically Canadian...) they teach no matter what you're given as a character "commit." Ferrell commits 110%. And frankly it's his unswaying, noncynical, bright smiled, 6'4" elf being so heartfelt and genuinely sweet that makes this film positively enjoyable from beginning to end.

Director Jon Favreau keeps the equally talented cast around Ferrell's easy going elf exceptionally real - Favs has got a certain knack for that. This is a fairy tale - through and through - but kids will feel that rare spark warming their hearts because it's still very close to home and no one (Buddy aside) is cartoony. For example, Buddy's dad played by the terribly tough terror inducing James Caan doesn't melt into a goo ball of fatherly love reciting poems of father and son camaraderie after "Buddy" treats Buddy just as expected; like the lad's "chemically unbalanced." He slowly comes around, this is after all a happy story about love, cheer and ultimately family.

Bluntly speaking? Elf will be around for a long long time and rightfully so. It's warm and fuzzy and reminds you to believe in the spirit of know like a Christmas movie should.

Snack recommendation: Spaghetti with maple syrup and chocolate syrup sprinkled with sno-caps and buttermints, pop tarts and a dollop of marinara with a 2 liter of Coca Cola©

Elf Soundtrack



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