Growing up a nice Jewish girl in the San Francisco Bay area, Cinecultist treaded lightly through the Christmas season. We had to be aware of inadvertently partaking in the holiday -- like sprinkling the all green and all red sprinkles on the menorah shaped Hannukkah cookies. And we certainly didn't gather as a family around certain classic holiday movies like It's A Wonderful Life, White Christmas or How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Although CC has seen all of these pictures since then, as we have plenty of nice goy friends. So, it was with a certain amount good old fashioned Jewish guilt that Cinecultist watched and really enjoyed Jon Favreau's Elf starring Will Ferrell.
Here's what Will Ferrell understands, perhaps better than any other comedian: you gotta sell it. There's not a trace of self consciousness in this man, as he saunters down the street in full elf regalia. Yellow tights and a cut away velvet green jacket do not slow him down and you have to respect that, even as you laugh at it. To that end, you can't help but get swept up in his energy, as Ferrell wants so much to make you believe he believes he's an elf, that it completely endears him. For this performance alone, the movie is worth a viewing. However, Elf also has other things going for it such as an awareness of the cannon of Christmas movies, particularly the influence of claymation. As well as strong supporting performances by Ed Asner, Mary Steenburgen, Zoe Deschanel and James Caan (who we've recently become sold on based on his solid performances on Las Vegas. Yeah, that's right, CC watches Las Vegas. And the O.C., they are our soapy tv guilty pleasures this season.)
The only thing we might caution though is try to attend the movie late in the evening. Children really do ruin the children's movie viewing experience, as CC was continually elbowed by this curly headed rugrat all through the 7:15pm showing. It made CC want to get all very bah humbug on her and her parents.Posted by karen at November 18, 2003 7:54 AM