MOVIE #5 Elf
With a hot cup of cocoa (or a lukewarm cup of peppermint tea), I nestle in to watch my favourite modern day Christmas flick Elf. Throw in one of the most recognisable comedians of our time and an indie queen and we have ourselves a winner. Let’s take a look at Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel in Elf .
A cute, orphan baby climbs into Santa’s sack on Christmas Eve and grows up at the North Pole. This all sounds like fun and games but Buddy the elf always felt a little bit different. Perhaps it was the fact he was a hundred times taller and hairier than his fellow elves – it’s hard to know – but after years of elf-doubt [Oh dear – Ed] he took his questions to the big man (Santa) and discovers he wasn’t even born in the North Pole and has another family out there in the big, scary world.
Buddy sets off on a journey of elf-discovery [Oh come on, now – Ed] through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, the sea of swirly twirly gum drops and right through the Lincoln Tunnel into New York City to find his family.
Having Santa Claus as your dad really sets the bar high, but Buddy’s biological father Walter Hobbs seriously disappoints. He’s a pretty angry man who already has a wife and child and is quite disturbed by a hairy, excitable man who thinks he’s an elf who thinks he’s his son; can’t really blame him for that. Walter’s family take Buddy in and look after him, thinking he’s mentally ill, and soon enough he meets another special new friend, Jovie (played by Deschanel).
Jovie stirs up some pretty saucy feelings in the man-elf as he tells her, “I think you’re really beautiful and I feel really warm when I’m around you and my tongue swells up.” In a classic tale of opposites attract, Buddy’s positivity and innocence challenges and eventually charms the cynical Jovie.
Don’t worry folks, there’s light and shade. Santa runs into some trouble because everyone has this downer-attitude and he can’t power his vehicle without some Christmas Cheer. Cue Buddy to the rescue, sing-a-longs, love fests and some warm fuzzy feelings that might just make your tongue swell up and we have ourselves a season classic.
- Buddy’s time with the other elves at North Pole is pretty giggle-worthy, especially as it becomes more and more obvious that he’s very unique. Enter shower scene and we have ourselves some Will Ferrell comedy gold!
- Another example that department store Santa and Elves are a little bit evil, but I did enjoy the shock horror this lot are faced with as Buddy gives their store an extreme Christmas makeover. I don’t remember the Santa whose knees I sat on and the man in the Calendar at my nan’s house being so dodgy, but there you go.
- Walter’s turnaround. A dodgy dad coming good seems to be a recurring theme of the Christmas films I’m watching (regardless of the fact that my dad is totally awesome) but this dad is really mean. Fear not though kids, it’s a light-hearted Christmas flick, so the chances are high that he’ll realise the error of his ways and learn to love his giant elf-son
- Will Ferrell looks a little too comfortable acting as a child like man-elf who loves EVERYTHING. Seriously he’s adorable, he loves sweets, lollies, coffee, family, Jovie, his clothes, Santa, decorations, elves, reindeer, the Lincoln Tunnel, revolving doors (this list goes on).
- CAROLS. One thing I’ve missed in the films I’ve been watching is a hearty dose of singing, and this one has it in abundance – in fact, it might just help save the day!
WHAT WE LEARN/SUMMARY
The couples in this movie are big evidence that opposites attract with Jovie and Buddy, but also if this wasn’t the case there’s no way Walter would have such a cool wife. We discover that Zooey Deschanel can really sing and that Will Ferrell somehow seems to always play a similar type of character whether he’s a newsreader, a step brother or an elf. And that character, by the way, is always freakin’ funny.
Like most Christmas films, Elf centres on the family theme. Buddy finds it difficult (so too does his new family) to settle in after being raised by a totally different cheery, jolly, snow-topped crew. Deeper still, it’s a story about identity and what makes Buddy, Buddy. Nature or nurture? Can he be raised by Christmas folk and live in the real world? Buddy is just eager to be loved, by Santa or by Walter Hobbs and his new family. In an adoption-like scenario, Buddy has to deal with the realisation that he needs to be self sufficient and happy in his own skin because otherwise he’ll end up feeling like a cotton-headed ninny muggins.