Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!
As it’s Christmas very soon, I decided to review one of the most festive movies around. Usually, when you say Christmas movies, the first films that pop into people’s minds are Die Hard (review here), Home Alone and Elf. Seeing as I reviewed Die Hard last week, Elf was next in line to be reviewed.
Directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man and next year’s The Lion King), Elf tells the story of Buddy, a human who is accidentally taken to the North Pole as a baby and raised as an elf. When Buddy grows up, it is revealed to him that he is actually a human. Buddy’s decides to travel to New York to meet his father, Walter Hobbs, who is a grinch. What follows is a sweet and hilarious story about family and Christmas.
Will Ferrell plays Buddy the Elf and one of Ferrell’s most notorious roles to date. He brings a sweet charm and enthusiasm combined with a childlike naivety to Buddy’s character that makes him lovable and a hilarious character. It does reach a point of Buddy being a bit of a nuisance in places, but nonetheless, Buddy is a great character who is brilliantly played by Will Ferrell. Walter Hobbs, Buddy’s grinchy father, is played wonderfully by James Caan. Though Walter Hobbs was the main antagonist in Elf, the way that Caan played Hobbs was done well and his acting ability was put to good use in the film. Of course, there was a love interest in this film, and it was Jovie, a shop assistant at Gimbels, who was played by Zooey Deschanel. Jovie was a good character and all, but I felt she was just put in to lengthen the run-time and create a few more comedic moments in the film. Elf also featured Peter Dinklage, who played Miles Finch. Honestly, I’ve seen Elf about 10 times and can’t remember who he has. All I can remember is Buddy chasing him and mistaking him for an elf. Dinklage did a great job playing Miles Finch, but he was just a forgettable character.
The music was classic Christmas stuff (Let it Snow, Rocking Around the Christmas tree, Sleigh ride and so forth) which was well suited to the film. I liked the song choices throughout the film as it made the movie more enjoyable to watch. There’s nothing to criticise here.
Elf’s storyline is one that is quite smart and straightforward, a human who is raised as an elf is sent to reconnect with his human family but his dad is a grinch. The human tries to convince his dad to enjoy Christmas time and hijinks occur. It’s where additional parts are thrown into the film that it starts to deteriorate. You have so many subplots squeezed in to get more laughs out of the audience, and it worked in some places but flopped in others. It’s evident that Will Ferrell really enjoyed making this film and he really put everything into making this a great film, but I felt that too much was packed into what was an already good film. The comedy was well done by Ferrell, and it’s clear that he’s mastered the art of making people laugh. It was mainly the additional subplots that ruined the film.
Overall, Elf gets a 7.2/10 from me. It was a good movie that featured great comedy from Will Ferrell but threw too much into the film to make it longer. Admittedly, Elf is not Jon Favreau’s greatest work but nonetheless is a good film. To get you in the festive feeling, Elf is available to watch on Amazon Prime.
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Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. I hope you all have a merry Christmas and join me next week for a yearly look at the best movies and TV shows we were treated to in 2018. See you then!