Everybody's a critic - 'Elf'

Friday, November 14, 2003

Three and a half stars (out of four)

Tiny Tim, George Bailey … and Buddy the Elf? Will Ferrell's lovable "Buddy" may not enter the Christmas Movie Hero Hall of Fame, but he puts you in a holiday mood!

Elf is the story of an orphaned baby who crawls into Santa's sack, winds up at the North Pole and is raised by elves. As baby Buddy grows, it becomes apparent he's not like other elves … he can't make toys as quickly and, well, is much taller. His adopted Papa (played sweetly by Bob Newhart) tells him the truth, and Buddy goes off to find his real dad in NYC. Alas, Buddy's father (James Caan) is on the "naughty" list, and it takes more than tinsel and cookies to fill him with Christmas spirit.

My husband and I enjoyed Buddy's attempts to create Yuletide cheer because they were portrayed with child-like honesty by Ferrell. Pump up the "Claus-o-meter." Take the whole family to see "Elf."

- Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs, adjunct professor

One-half star (out of four)

To quote from the Southeast Missourian Arts & Leisure section in the Nov. 7 newspaper: "Elf is a merry boy raised by Santa's helpers…. (and) is a crowd-pleasing mix of slapstick, fish-out-of-water silliness." Well, I am sorry but I do not agree.

If you like a full two hours of a "Saturday Night Live" skit, then this movie is for you. It is not the "Santa" or "Home Alone" for this season.

Santa accidentally brings home a baby from an orphanage, and the elves raise him. When he is 30 he finds out he is not an elf. Duh! He is 6 feet tall, and everyone else is 2 1/2 feet tall. He then sets out to New York to find his father who, by the way, is worse than Scrooge. It goes downhill from there.

My father said to say something nice about everyone, so my half star is for Bob Newhart. He lends some humor to this slapstick -- I mean slapschtick -- comedy. I do not think it is worthy of a Christmas comedy label. But then again, I may be a Scrooge (which, by the way, is my favorite Christmas story).

- Chuck Stotz, executive director, Southeast Missouri Hospital Foundation

Four stars (out of four)

I was a little skeptical about going to see "Elf" because Will Ferrell tends to be more silly than funny at times, but I'll have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed Bob Newhart and Ed Asner.

The opening credits reminded me of Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph, which always bring warm childhood memories.

"Elf" is a light-hearted movie full of Christmas spirit. It is a movie for all ages and one that the whole family could see together.

The movie soundtrack is great, and don't forget to check out the cool snowman named Leon along with the animated animals that wish Buddy the elf a good trip to find his real father.

"Elf" has a good Christmas message and leaves you in the holiday mood. Go see "Elf" with your family.

- Debbie Williams, kindergarten teacher

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