by Leah Sottile
This is a stupid movie. That said, stupid can be very funny - like watching a dog chase its tail or an episode of America's Funniest Home Videos. And in the case of Elf, stupid is at first hilarious, awkward and silly, eventually dwindling to occasional belly laughs and gurgly chortles. But come on guys, it's Will Ferrell. Give it a chance.
Ferrell plays Buddy, the human who grew up at the North Pole believing he was one of Santa's worker elves, wearing an extra-large version of their green tuxedo-like jackets, bright gold leggings, curly-cued elf shoes and a big pointy hat. For a while, it's funny to watch Ferrell bang his head on the elf-sized doorways, cram into their beds and sit on their potty training-sized toilets. But one day he discovers the reason why he's so much bigger than the others, and so much slower in his toy production output: He's a human. So he travels to New York City to meet his birth dad (James Caan), a no-nonsense book company exec with a heart of coal. Ferrell tries to inundate him, his office and most of New York City with the Christmas spirit. Unleash the wackiness. You get it.
Ferrell is funny, as always, as the candy-sweet Buddy, looking hilarious in his elf get-up and pointy ears. But it's movies like Elf that make you realize that Ferrell's humor is great in moderation and annoying in excess. His cameos in silly flicks like Zoolander and Old School are perfect and palatable; his starring roles are just too much to swallow.
The Elf DVD is worth the money, however, because of the two discs of special features - including deleted scenes, games for the little elves in your family. The disc, an Infinifilm creation, also includes a "Tag Along With Will Ferrell" feature that tracks the star from his personal trailer to the makeup room. There's also a "Film School for Kids" feature that is hardly juvenile - showing viewers exactly how a film is made and who all those people in the ending credits are. Director Jon Favreau (Swingers) repeatedly comments that Elf will be a mainstay in every DVD player during the holiday season.
Sure it will.
Publication date: 12/02/04