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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Movie Review:Elf


Premise:A human raised by elves goes to New York to spend Christmas with his biological father.

Cast:Will Ferrell as Buddy Elf, Bob Newhart as Papa Elf, James Caan as Walter Hobbs, Zooey Deschanel as Jovie, Ed Asner as Santa Claus, Mary Steenburgen as Emily Hobbs, Daniel Tay as Michael Hobbs, Fazion Love as the Gimbel's manager, Amy Sedaris as Deborah, Peter Dinklage as Miles Finch


Director:Jon Favreau


MPAA Rating:PG for some mild rude humor and language.


Genres:Comedy, children's, holiday


Notes:Images taken from Rotten Tomatoes and belong to Warner Brothers.


Pros:Sweet-hearted. Fun acting. It's funny.


Cons:Somewhat cheesy and saccharine




Feeling like a cotton-headed ninmuggins, Buddy the elf is told the truth. He is actually a human and his father lives in a magical place called New York. Unfortunately, Dad is also on the naughty list. Even so, he's going to have so much fun with Dad.

This movie is a lot like Buddy himself. It's silly and obsessed with sugar, but it's well-meaning and kind of sweet. I haven't seen many Will Ferrell movies, so I can't make comparisons. What I can say is he makes a great human-elf. And Zooey Deschanel does a fair softening snarky lady.

One downside to it is that it's sort of cheesy. Christmas cheer is spread by singing "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town", not through an act of goodwill or charity or anything like that.

Overall, if you have a soft spot for Christmas specials, be sure to check this out.


Sex:Walter got his now-deceased girlfriend Susan pregnant with our hyperactive hero, not knowing of his son's birth. Buddy looks at Christmas-themed lingerie advertised as being "for that special someone." Not understanding what it's meant for, he gives his dad some. Santa warns him a peepshow doesn't mean he gets to look at presents before Christmas.
Buddy gets a crush on a department store elf. When he hears her singing in the shower, he follows her to the women's locker room. Shots of her naked body above the boobs are included. Once she realizes she has company, she yells at him to get out and not look at her. When she asks why he was in there and sarcastically wonders if it had something to do with the fact she was naked in the shower, he responds honestly he didn't know that. Michael tells Buddy to ask "the girl you're staring at" on a date. He does, and later kisses her on the cheek. She says "You missed", and gets him right on the lips.
Buddy is shown in the shower above the stomach (he's still wearing his hat). When Walter tells Buddy to lose the tights as soon as possibly, he takes it literally and removes them just as his stepmother walks in.  A man tells Buddy "I get more action in a week than you've had your entire life." (Though considering Buddy's situation, that's probably true.)

Violence:A raccoon growls at and jumps on BuddyElves are apparently really great at snowball fights, if the trouble Buddy and his step-brother get into is any indication. Buddy jumps on and wrestles with a department store Santa, who beforehand asks if he'd like to be dead. They knock over and break stuff. Buddy runs into something when trying to leave a locker room with his eyes closed and jumps on a tree, knocking it over. A car hits but doesn't seriously injure him. A tree catches on fire. A book (I think) falls on a puffin, who also gets blown back by wind. A short man Buddy mistakes for an elf attacks him. An elf gets caught under a fainting Buddy. Santa's sleigh crashes, then a group of rangers chase after him and and his company.

Language:"H*ll", "G*d", "frigging", "crap", "p*ssed", "sucked", and "up yours" (which a kid then repeats). Buddy yells "son of a nutcracker!" Elves gasp when he calls himself a cotton-headed ninimuggins.


Gross Humor:Trolls would apparently make terrible workers because they aren't toilet trained. A visual is supplied with an elf mopping up near a diaper-clad troll that then farts. Buddy is told to avoid yellow snow (which he already knows) and to leave gum on the street alone; it's not free candy. He doesn't listen and eats not only used gum, but also cotton balls and a mess of spaghetti, Pop Tarts, and candy. He's rather amazed at human-size toilets (as opposed to elf-size toilets). He spins around in a revolving door and throws up. A guy scratches his butt. Buddy downs a two-liter bottle of Coca Cola and lets out a long belch.

Product Placement:I noticed a lot of name brands are mentioned or shown, including Barbie, Bob the Builder, Pop Tarts, Coca Cola, Etch a Sketch, Lego, etc.


Drugs & Alcohol:Gnomes are said to drink too much. A guy sticks rum in his coffee. Buddy mistakes it for syrup and puts it in his own coffee. The result is the two lying on a table talking while intoxicated. Walter and his wife have wine at dinner. A song mentions "half a drink [and later half a cigarette] more". Guys in a jail smoke, in spite of a posted rule. A guy is briefly seen in a bar.

Spiritual:As many Christmas movies tend to do, this one doesn't acknowledge Jesus and instead makes Santa the most important part of the holiday. Also, Christmas spirit helps to power the sleigh.
Buddy's home before the North pole was an orphanage run by nuns. A children's story features the characters escaping from a witch. A song mentions manna from heaven. A menorah is seen in a window sill.


So what did you think? Sweet and funny? Or saccharine and cringe-worthy?

© 2013 by M.R.R.

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