Saturday, December 11, 2010

12 films of christmas: elf

 I just like to smile! Smiling's my favorite.

I'm halfway through the last and this is the first and only film from the last decade.  Elf is as much for grown-ups who look back with nostalgia on the old Rankin Bass Christmas specials as it is for the kids.   The film throws just about every Christmas movie convention together with gleeful abandon but all the great sight gags, slapstick and one-liners are held together by a tremendous amount of heart.  Jim Carrey was originally attached to this film  but I don't think Carrey's self-conscious mugging for the audience would have worked as well. Will Ferrell never veers from Buddy's wide-eyed innocence and joy.  Even at his most manic you never doubt his sincerity.

It's 97 minutes that never fail to put a smile on my face.

Bonus smiles for the use of Louis Prima's recording of 'Pennies From Heaven'; a song I highly recommend if you need a pick-me-up.

Fun fact: Ming-Ming the elf who appears early on in the film is played by Peter Billingsley.  You may know him as Ralphie in A Christmas Story.

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