Wednesday, December 23, 2009

ELF: A Christmas Classic for the 21st Century

While we are waiting for original TV episodes to start again in January, I thought I would give a long overdue shout out to the fantastic movie "Elf", which happens to be playing everywhere on television during this holiday season. I caught my version this year on Comcast HD on Demand. Alas it was PPV, but I love this movie so much it was worth the $$ to see it in high def without interruption.

"Elf" is a side splitting but surprisingly warm comedy starring Will Ferrell (before his lost boy persona wore thin) as Buddy, the over sized human adopted by elves and raised at the north pole. In the video above, he has traveled to NYC to search for his real father (James Caan in a lovely nuanced performance) and landed a job at Gimbels department store as...what else....a Christmas elf. In classic "fish out of water" fashion, Buddy navigates the mean streets of New York, spreading holiday cheer and maple syrup everywhere and even falling in love. There are wonderful performances from Bob Newhart (Buddy's adopted elf dad), Ed Asner (Santa) and Zooey Deschanel as the co-worker girl friend with the voice of an angel.

My favorite scene is Buddy's first glimpse of the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Plaza, which brings tears to my eyes with childhood memories of NYC in the snow. But for quirky hilarity, nothing beats Buddy in the doctor's office popping cotton balls into his mouth like it's grandma's divine divinity candy.

A lot of people are saying that they enjoy watching this 2003 issued movie over and over each holiday season, so it's on the way to becoming a classic treat. "Elf" doesn't have the gravitas of "It's a Wonderful Life", but it's about 50 times more funny. And the messages are timeless too.... sing loud, have spirit and be nice to your family at Christmas. And everything tastes better with maple syrup on top.


Lisa said...

Lovely tribute to a charming movie that even I, a total Scrooge, enjoy a lot! Along with "A Christmas Story", "Elf" is certainly a new classic Christmas movie favorite. Since "It's a Wonderful Life" went off public domain status, it's virtually disappeared from TV screens and sadly dropped out of public consciousness. That move by the man who bought up the rights really killed "IaWL" as THE Christmas movie. Hope he's happy now...ruined it. But at least we have "Elf" and "A Christmas Story"!

Jane said...

Thanks Lisa! I did notice that Elf was appearing in many top 10 favorite Christmas special lists this year, along with my other favorite (Rudolph, the claymation classic) and It's a Wonderful Life. It was hard to find IAWL on regular TV this year, which is why one should always keep a nice copy on DVD handy!