The popular Christmas movie Elf, directed by Jon Favreau, has been one of America's favorite Christmas movies since its release in 2003. Since then it has grossed more than $200million. The narrative follows Buddy the elf (played by Will Ferrell) who, after being raised in the North Pole by elves, goes on a journey to New York City in order to find his biological father, Walter Hobbs (played by James Caan). Whilst trying to connect with his father, he attempts to bring more Christmas spirit to the city. This movie strives to be really funny, however it falls short, revealing a predictable, stupid, and immature storyline.
The concept (the fish out of water) is the least creative and most overused trope ever. This is when a character finds themselves in an environment that is completely foreign to them and they have to adapt to their new surroundings. Although we all love a cliche Christmas movie, Elf takes it too far. For example, the moment when Buddy marvels at the holiday decoration in New York City, is a moment that happens in hundreds of other movies. It is not redeemed by great acting, great cinematography or great humor.
Another thing that ruins this movie is the humor, or lack of real humor. Buddy’s over-the-top enthusiasm is not funny, it gets old and it feels really forced. Buddy also lacks emotional nuance, and the humor is pretty much reliant on his lack of emotional depth. The forced humor is evident in the scene where Buddy first arrives in the city and encounters revolving doors; he literally fails to operate a simple machine.
Attempting to combine the heartfelt Christmas message with humor, Elf struggles to have any emotional impact on viewers. Despite its potential for genuine emotional and moving moments the film once again falls short.