Elf is a cracking Yuletide comedy that’s not just for kids. Little orphan Buddy crawls into Santa’s (Edward Asner) sack one Christmas and finds himself transported to the North Pole. He’s raised by one of the elves (Bob Newhart), and it’s not till he’s a fully grown man that he realises he may be a little different from all the pint-sized people around him. So Santa tells Buddy the truth – his mum died when he was born, and his father, Walter (Caan), doesn’t know he exists – before sending the innocent man-child (still in his green elf outfit) off to New York so he can find his dad.
A showcase for Ferrell’s comic talents, this has some very funny moments, from Santa’s advice to Buddy before he goes to the big city (‘you see gum on the street, leave it there. It’s not candy. And if you see a sign that says “Peep Show”, that doesn’t mean that they’re letting you look at presents before Christmas’), to his adventures in the Big Apple (surprise, surprise, he gets a job in a department-store Santa’s grotto). Best of all, though, is the lovely warm and fuzzy feeling this film will give you as Manhattan, and Caan’s crabby Walter, finally remember the true meaning of Christmas. Aaah.
Is Elf suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...