Fight me on this one!
No one else could have played Buddy The Elf in Director Jon Faverau’s Christmas classic “Elf” except Will Farrell. It’s as if the part was written for him, and I think millions of movie lovers (even casual movie watchers) are grateful.
My wife, daughter and I watch this film every year at this time and it brings nothing but joy to see Buddy massacre a bunch of school kids in snowball fights, chew gum off a subway rail, jump on store mattresses with his newly discovered brother, run through a revolving door until he’s sick, decorate Gimbels Department Store, and exude over eager enthusiasm for the spirit of Christmas and his idol Santa Claus.
If any of us would encounter Buddy in real life, we’d punch him out and chew out his mother and father for their poor upbringing. Here, it’s just a pleasure to laugh and smile at Buddy’s carefree stupidity and eagerness for happiness as he seeks to build a relationship with his biological father played by James Caan, a grumpy children’s book publisher who like many traditional Christmas misers needs to find the spirit of the season to redeem himself.
Back to Santa for a second. Ed Asner is a favorite of a long list of cinematic St. Nicks. He’s a little crass, a little tired and a little real about the way of the modern world that seems to have lost its belief in him. A blink and you miss it moment occurs when his sleigh breaks down in Central Park. Buddy sneaks up on him, and Santa is ready to fend off a mugger. Even Santa is on his guard in the Big Apple.
Supporting appearances by Zooey Deschanel as an adorable love interest with a soulful singing voice (crooning that terribly offensive number “Baby It’s Cold Outside”), Bob Newhart, perfect as the narrator Elf father and Faison Love as a stressed out store manager are loved as well.
Special recognition has to go to Peter Dinklage as a world renowned children’s author with a short fuse. This is pre “Game of Thrones.” Only to watch his scene now is even better. He carries himself as a no nonsense tough guy demanding respect from the room. Poor Buddy doesn’t realize that however, and the scene only gets better with each repeat viewing.
“Elf” is for all ages, all denominations, all religions. It’s just a fun time to laugh with your friends and family together.
It’ll always be a Christmas favorite of mine.
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