Everyone has their own favorite Christmas movies. Peter loves A Christmas Story; I adore The Grinch Who Stole Christmas; and Neil and Kelly see A Charlie Brown Christmas every year. A a few weeks ago, at the Teeny Manolo, Glinda the Good made a list of her top ten Christmas movies, all of which I’d seen…except one. It was Elf, a Will Ferrell vehicle from 2003. Now Will Ferrell, as far as I know him, is an over-the-top corny comedian I knew better as the perverted ranger in a Jay and Silent Bob movie, wacky designer/villain Mugatu in Zoolander, or, more recently, as an actor who does outrageous spoofs of weathercasters, ice skaters, and race car drivers. So a Christmas movie with him didn’t strike me as having a lot of family-friendly potential.
Well, I was wrong. Elf is thoroughly charming. It manages to make elves (and Santa) more human, and discovers the “elf” in humankind. In short, Will Ferrell plays a human, who, by circumstance, is adopted by an elf and grows up a misfit among elves. When he finds out he’s human, he goes to New York City to unite with his biological father and family, where, given his elfish ways, he’s equally out of place. In the end, however, he inspires the Christmas spirit even in hardened New Yorkers, and finds his place in both worlds. As Glinda correctly judged, it belongs on any list of Christmas classics. And if you haven’t seen it, make a point to do so this year.