ELF Wednesday 23 November, 2011

Will Ferrell does Christmas and he does it well.

This is more of an outsider comedy than anything else. Will Ferrell is a human child raised by Santa’s elves until he realises he would like to try and find out about the human world. Cue lots of ‘fish-out-of-water’ jokes.

So far so formulaic. The reason this film rises above above it’s moribund plotting is Ferrell’s performance. He truly is a master of that childlike wonder. This quality is needed here in bundles and fortunately he has the required number of bundles. He is genuinely funny in this film. There are a few golden moments of comedy here. He is clearly enjoying himself and it comes through in almost everything he does.

I should mention the wonderful christmas animations that pop up in the earlier parts of the film. They are stylistically like the animations I remember from my childhood. Lovely stuff.

James Caan’s performance is a little one note but this might be down to Jon Favreau’s direction and (the lovely) Mary Steenburgen has very little to do here. Zooey Deschanel, who generally aggravates me, isn’t on screen long enough to do any real damage to my enjoyment of the film. On the whole the performances are just about right.

The end of the film feels a little tacked on but you can’t have a christmas film without getting everybody to be more cheery i.e. helping somebody achieve something. Isn’t that what christmas films are all about though?

Luckily the earlier sections of the film are so enjoyable that you won’t mind ┬áthe contrived ending. Definitely worth a watch and it’ll be good for your elf…(shudder).

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