Elf (2003) - Jon Favreau
Borrowing from just about every holiday family movie that came before it, Elf (2003) is another, in a long line, of contemporary Christmas fables. What sets it apart from the rest of the pack is the comedic styling of its star, Will Ferrell, as Buddy, the elf. Love him or hate him, his naive, childlike sensibility is custom fitted to this role. His over the top innocence sells the comedy, which in turn helps to usher in the heart. On many levels the film doesn't break new ground, but rather shows an already established concept in a new light, this time from an Elf's perspective. Technically the film makes interesting use of the sets for the North Pole sequence, drawing inspiration from other holiday classics such as Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964), as well as the use of forced perspective when portraying the elves next to the towering Ferrell. However, the thing about Elf, and what makes it a great holiday movie, is that it is better with company. To watch it alone, without someone to laugh at Ferrell's antics with, would only be aggravating, unless you're a child. Not to mention the fantastic emotional void you would feel at the film's conclusion. Unlike other holiday movies that have varying degrees of comedy, or performances that make them enjoyable year round, Elf is almost engineered to only be watchable during the holidays.