So, we’ve been through the Christmas Carol part of the countdown from Halloween to Christmas, and the Father Christmas part is well in the rear view mirror by now, so it’s time for a film from one of the most succesful comedy actors of the last decade. Since leaving Saturday Night Live, Will Ferrell has had hits with Old School, Anchorman, Step Brotheres, The Other Guuys, and Daddy’s Home, to name but a few. This is one of his few films aimed squarely at a family audience – The Lego Movie being another success he had in this field.
And today it’s…
25th November, Day 26
Elf (Jon Favreau, 2003)
A young boy hides in Santa’s sack and ends up at the North Pole. He is raised by Papa Elf (Bob Newhart) and is named Buddy (Will Ferrell). He lives like an elf, but doesn’t have the ntural skills to make toys or wrap presents. He ends up being given a special job testing jack in the boxes, and overhears a conversation, learns that he is a human and was adopted. Papa Elf tells him that his father is in New York, and so Buddy heads off the find him.
After wandering around the Big Apple, he finds Walter (James Caan), his father. He works as a publisher, putting profit above everything – he even ships out a book without its last page to save money on reprinting. He reluctantly agrees to bring Buddy home with him, where his wife Emily (Mary Steenburgen, who also starred with Ferrell in Step Brothers and The Last Man On Earth) and son Michael are bemused by their new family member. He eventually wins them over with his enthusiasm, but his work at the publishing house doesn’t go as well, and instead he ends up working in the Christmas section of a department store alongside the delightful Jovie (Zooey Deschanel). They start some sort of relationship, but Buddy innocence – and sheer love of Christmas – causes some issues.
Walter’s ideas men (Andy Richter and Tenacious D’s Kyle Gass) are running low on inspiration, so they bring in Miles Finch (Peter Dinkalge) to get that magic idea to save the company in the run up to Christmas. This leads to Walter working even longer hours, putting extra strain on his relationship with his wife and son. Will Buddy show these people the real meaning of Christmas?
Will Ferrell’s overgrown manchild act sometimes gets grating, but here he is perfect. The pure enthusiasm and warm-hearted nature of the character – and in turn the whole movie – makes this a quality family film. His ways of trying to fit into human society are incredibly entertaining, especially describing his diet and making breakfast for Emily.
James Caan’s Walter is a very enjoyable character as well. He’s not a clichéd Scrooge-type, he is a man who lost his way and ended up on the naughty list. Mary Steenburgen (who was also Ferrell’s mother in Stepbrothers) is always enjoyable as well. Add in plenty of funny scenes with Buddy at the North Pole (the whole script is very funny in fact) and a great Christams message, this is a definite recommendation for anyone looking for either a family or comedy Christmas film.
Overall, I give this
This really is a pure-hearted Christmas film, that deserves it place alongside the best of this millennium, although it’s a bit strange seeing Zooey Deschanel with blonde hair.
It’s time for another family film as tomorrow I take on HOME ALONE!
Until next time, stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold. See you soonish.
PS Here’s my list so far
31st October, Day 1: The Nightmare Before Christmas
1st November, Day 2: Rocky IV
2nd November, Day 3: Edward Scissorhands
3rd November, Day 4: Trading Places
4th November, Day 5: Batman Returns
5th November, Day 6: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
6th November, Day 7: Gremlins
7th November, Day 8: Eyes Wide Shut
8th November, Day 9: Love Actually
9th November, Day 10: Lethal Weapon
10th November, Day 11: Die Hard / Die Hard 2
11th November, Day 12: About A Boy
12th November, Day 13: Trapped In Paradise
13th November, Day 14: Reindeer Games
14th November, Day 15: Joyeux Noel
15th November, Day 16: Nativity / Nativity 2 / Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey?
16th November, Day 17: Jack Frost
17th November, Day 18: Jack Frost
18th November, Day 19: Arthur Christmas
19th November, Day 20: The Santa Clause / The Santa Clause 2 / The Santa Clause 3
20th November, Day 21: Miracle On 34th Street
21st November, Day 22: Miracle On 34th Street
22nd November, Day 23: Scrooged
23rd November, Day 24: Scrooge
24th November, Day 25: The Muppet’s Christmas Carol
25th November, Day 26: Elf