Wholesome stories about family relationships are a long-recognized staple of Christmas fare. Many viewers want the trappings of Christmas - colorful costumes, snow, fantasy characters - with a guaranteed happy ending. "Elf," which came out in 2003, fits this bill perfectly.
"Elf" stars Will Ferrell as Buddy, a naïve human who was raised by elves. When he grows up, he learns about his birth father (played by James Caan), who lives in New York City. Buddy goes to New York to meet his dad and finds that he is a workaholic who does not spend a lot of time with his wife (played by Mary Steenburgen) and younger son. Also, the colorfully dressed Buddy meets a girl, Jovie (played by Zooey Deschanel), who he falls for. Buddy's behavior in New York is strange since he was raised by elves and does not quite know how to interact with people, especially no-nonsense New Yorkers.
"Elf" is predictable, but it is still an enjoyable film with a great cast. Will Ferrell is perfect as Buddy, who loves people, but does not know how to deal with them. Zooey Deschanel is also very good as Jovie, who works at Gimbel's Department Store. Edward Asner is perfectly cast as Santa Claus.
The movie is often very funny. In the early scenes, we see how big Buddy is compared to the other elves. When he goes to New York, there is a lot of good fish-out-of-water humor.
"Elf" is a good choice to watch at Christmas time.