In case you haven’t heard the grossly-premature Bublé carols that’ve been blasted across shopping centres since October, it’s Christmastime, which means that our weekly Executive Decision on what you should watch comes with an abundance of holiday cheer.
As most of you know, Christmas is a time of revival, be it Mariah Carey’s prompt reemergence from retirement every November or your long-dreaded reunion with an interstate relative (how’s love life?). Keeping with this spirit, we’re dusting off the movie shelves with an oldy but an absolute goldy; Jon Favreau’s instant holiday classic, Elf.
Released in 2003, Elf follows Will Ferrell’s Buddy, a North Pole-born human who, after discovering that he is not the titular Christmas creature, travels to New York City in search of his biological father. Carols, candy canes and a warm hugs-worth of Christmas cheer ensues, but here’s five more reasons why you should (re)watch Elf tonight.
Christmas is a time of many traditions, from honey-glazed ham to gift-giving and the annual custom of blacking out with your cousins by 5pm. For longtime fans, watching Elf on any given day in December is akin to acting happy when you’ve been gifted a book- it’s simply a rite of passage. Elf’s christmassy NYC setting, snow-covered set pieces, jingle-bell soundtrack and overall joyful outlook on the holiday season is more than enough to get you in the Christmas spirit.
Elf is one of the most popular Christmas movies ever made, primarily because unlike most of its holiday-themed peers (which often feel like an overwritten Hallmark card), it doesn’t really need it’s December setting to work. While it does have the look and feel of a Christmas flick, Buddy’s journey of finding his father and restoring his optimism is appealing no matter the time of year.
Elf sees Will Ferrell bring his A-game comedy chops to the leading role, creating perhaps the funniest manchild character since Tom Hanks in Big. While watching Ferrell’s slapstick method of alighting an escalator will never get old, Buddy’s best moment comes when he meets a supermarket Santa. Buddy’s quick transition from excitement to interrogation, and Artie Lange’s decidedly un-Santa response are what make Elf just as much a comedic film as a Christmas one.
Christmas desserts usually entail some variation of a fruity trifle, but Buddy’s sweet tooth in Elf takes the cake (ha!). An elf’s diet consists mainly of candy and syrup, but Buddy readjusts to the human world by simply adding them to everyday dishes. It’s the sort of holiday gluttony you’d love to have indulged in as a kid, even if syrup-covered spaghetti is just a diarrhoea waiting to happen.
What’s an elf to do when he’s feasted only on sugar and soft drink for the whole movie? Let out one of film history’s longest-ever burps, of course! Call me uncultured, but bodily gases will never not be funny (Ferrell’s Step Brothers co-star John C. Riley would agree), so Buddy’s Coke-induced belcher during Elf’s dinner scene is an absolute Oscar-winner.