Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Review: Elf

World of Blackout Film Review

Elf Poster

Cert: PG / 93 mins / Dir. Jon Favreau
WoB Rating: 5/7

So, not a first viewing of 2003's Elf, but the only time I've seen it in a cinema, plus it's been a few years since I last watched Will Ferrell fidget and squirm slightly, as if director Jon Favreau's not letting him really cut loose the way he'd like.

The thing is, it is quite a good movie. True, there's that odd sort of emotional disconnect whereby the only character you can really warm to seems to exhibit naivety to the point of undiagnosed learning-difficulties. True, the casting of Will Ferrell and James Caan probably wasn't the best choice, as Ferrell struggles with sincerity and Caan struggles with humour, which are the two tentpoles of any Christmas comedy, and true, the film would have had a far greater energy with Jim Carrey as Buddy. True, Zooey Deschanel's character, Jovie, is under-written to the point of being a placeholder image, and Mary Steenburgen's Emily isn't far behind. And true, the film is essentially Crocodile Dundee meets Big, with a few homages to Back To The Future thrown in at the end, and set at Christmas.

But y'know what? I quite like it. When the final reel comes around, the Elf delivers like a rejuvenated Santa Claus, and the film's message of simple, old-fashioned goodwill brings a grin to my face. Not quite a teary-eye, but we can't have everything...

Is the trailer representative of the film?
Well, it's not as madcap as that trailer would have you believe, but it's about right tonally.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
Mostly, but probably not as hard as I was supposed to.

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
I think it probably does.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
There's nothing overly cinematic about Elf, but if you're a fan then it's worth the trek.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Will I watch it again?
Of course I bloody will.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
There ain't. Plenty of opportunities, too.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

And my question for YOU is…
Why isn't Buddy just sectioned, though? I mean, other than this being a PG-rated family Christmas movie..?

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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