Elf (9/10)

 Copyright © 2003 by Tony Medley

 Orphaned infant Buddy (Will Farrell) crawls into Santa’s (Ed Asner) bag and ends up at the North Pole being raised as an elf by Papa Elf (Bob Newhart). After 30 years Papa tells Buddy, who’s at least two feet taller than his fellow elves, he’s not really an elf and his real father, avaricious Walter (James Caan), is in New York City, so Buddy leaves the North Pole to find Walter. He not only finds Walter but he finds Walter’s son, Michael (Daniel Tay) and wife, Emily (Mary Steenburgen) and falls for a lovely young woman, Jovie (Zooey Deschanel).

 Buddy’s different, walking around New York City in his elf suit and reacting with honest naïveté. Walter doesn’t want anything to do with him, but Buddy wins the hearts of Michael and Emily and Jovie.

 The joy in this movie is that Buddy retains his innocence and lack of guile and it rubs off on everyone. It sounds ridiculous, but Will Farrell’s talent is that he makes it entirely believable. I watched this film with a smile on my face almost the entire time. It’s funny and touching. What amazes me is that a film like this could be made in a Hollywood that produces trash like Kill Bill and In The Cut. Like last year’s The Santa Clause 2, this is a family picture that everyone should enjoy.

 November 14, 2003

 The End