For those of you with a belly laugh on your wish list, Christmas has come early this year.
Sean O'Connell - MovieWeb
A disarmingly funny holiday comedy.
Owen Gleiberman - Entertainment Weekly
The disarming comedic tone -- silly and novel in its lack of cynicism -- is driven by the fearless, cheerful unself-consciousness of Will Ferrell.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
A charming, silly family Christmas movie more likely to spread real joy than migraine, indigestion and sugar shock.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
The result is a turkey.
Mark Kermode - Guardian [UK]
With a little tweaking, this could be a horror film.
Peter Bradshaw - Guardian [UK]
Its message is unobjectionable, and there are a few laughs to be had, but too much of Elf is like Buddy's favorite meals: syrupy sweet.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
Ferrell provides just enough humor to get us through the familiar fare and enjoy the ride.
Desson Thomson - Washington Post
It's a clumsy, tedious ride that wears out its welcome as it wears out the seat of your pants and the circulation in your lower limbs.
Stephen Hunter - Washington Post
The movie sets Ferrell's assaultive and juvenile physical comedy in a less-combative playground, and the result might leave the Ferrell-intolerant exiting the theater on a high.
Wesley Morris - Boston Globe
Wan Christmas concoction.
Ed Park - Village Voice
It wiped away the Scrooge in me for 90 enchanting minutes.
Jami Bernard - New York Daily News
As an original family film for the holidays, it's fresh, timely and quite funny.
Bruce Westbrook - Houston Chronicle
The first charming present of the holiday movie season.
Nancy Churnin - Dallas Morning News
Leaves a sour taste in the mouth and a Grinch-like resolve to sue the manufacturer.
Michael Booth - Denver Post
I love watching Ferrell do his gangly, clueless shtick, and even here, there's something inherently funny about just seeing him in a big, green elf suit. There's something inherently funny about Ferrell -- period.
Peter Rainer - New York Magazine
This is one of those rare Christmas comedies that has a heart, a brain and a wicked sense of humor, and it charms the socks right off the mantelpiece.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Formulaic but lovable.
Robert K. Elder - Chicago Tribune
The film soon bogs down in fake hugs and a fakier climax involving Santa (Ed Asner) and his downed sled.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
An enjoyably goofy yuletide tale of a towering innocent with a serious sugar addiction.
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
Ferrell has found the ideal starring vehicle -- and it turns out to be Santa's sleigh.
Jeff Strickler - Minneapolis Star Tribune
You'll laugh hard, you'll laugh often, and you'll leave wishing you still believed in Santa.
Tom Long - Detroit News
A Saturday Night Live skit that goes on too long, a one-joke movie that's funny for a while but wears out its welcome.
Bill Muller - Arizona Republic
The sweet-natured outsider fantasy neither skimps on nor overplays its sentimentality.
David Rooney - Variety
A pleasantly old-fashioned, gee-whillikers Yuletide confection rescued from Schmaltz-ville by the subversive comic talents of Will Ferrell.
Megan Lehmann - New York Post
It's Ferrell's untethered turn as Buddy that makes Elf sparkle.
Jay Boyar - Orlando Sentinel
Ferrell's stone-stupid sincerity keeps the action moving and irresistible, despite its familiarity.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
Say hello, kiddies, to the first big-hearted flick of the season. Time's up, so say goodbye and, be polite now, try to hide your mild disappointment.
Rick Groen - Globe and Mail
A movie made by people who really have their thinking caps on.
Stephanie Zacharek - Salon.com
It's irony-free fun for the whole family.
Michael Agger - Slate
A feather-light motion picture that embraces the Christmas spirit, but, in the process, forgets that it's trying to be a comedy.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
While the words 'instant holiday classic' might be pushing it, Elf is at the very least a breezily entertaining, perfectly cast family treat.
Michael Rechtshaffen - Hollywood Reporter
Even though [Ferrell] can't get naked or use naughty words, there's a devil of comedy in Ferrell, and he lets it out to play.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
Making this pay off without winking at the audience is a difficult task, and 'Elf' doesn't always feel all of a piece. But in 'Saturday Night Live' alumnus and star Will Ferrell, the film has a guide who steers it unerringly over the bumpy patches.
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
Feels like that rare instant Christmas classic.
Bruce Bennett - Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
The third act's a little clumsy, but Elf brings the Christmas cheer and loads of laughs.
R. L. Shaffer - IGN DVD
Peppy holiday favorite for both kids and parents.
Nell Minow - Common Sense Media
A family-friendly, funny and heartwarming holiday film with a great heart that is well worth watching more than once.
Vic Holtreman - ScreenRant
Elf might be the last modern Christmas classic we see for a long time.
Christian Toto - What Would Toto Watch?
The sentiment gets a little sticky towards the end, but many will consider this the perfect antidote to traditional Christmas fare -- especially those with a fondness for Ferrell's comedy.
Richard Luck - Film4
Delivers a warm, feel-good Christmas ending that will inspire the hope that even New York City can have Christmas spirit -- at least of the Hollywood kind.
Steven D. Greydanus - Decent Films Guide
Most will relate to its Christmas spirit, and there's unlikely to be a dry eye in the house during the emotional climax.
Urban Cinefile Critics - Urban Cinefile
[An] amusing, sweet-natured ode to retro-Christmas warmth and cheer...
Mark Halverson - Sacramento News & Review
A delightful, slapstick adventure about a naive innocent, woefully ill equipped to handle the rigors of life inside any impatiently unforgiving metropolis.
Kam Williams - Afro-American
Ferrell's man-child invites sympathy and sniggers, making this amusing despite some flimsy plotting. Sight gags and a Santa-centred story should keep the kids happy, too.
Anna Smith - Empire Magazine
Some humour might sail over the heads of the very young, but there's a higher chuckle rate for the grown-ups than much dread 'family' fare.
Trevor Johnston - Time Out
Elf does such a great job of winning you over early on that you'll gladly endure it.
Jason Zingale - Bullz-Eye.com
Dean Essner - Bullz-Eye.com
Exudes genuine holiday cheer.
Nick Schager - Lessons of Darkness
Sean O'Connell - Filmcritic.com
This is a family picture that everyone should enjoy.
Tony Medley - tonymedley.com
A charming, wholesome Christmas film with a lot of holiday spirit.
Mark Sells - Oregon Herald
I can't believe Gnome Alone with Will Ferrell is my third favorite Christmas movie.
Martin Scribbs - Low IQ Canadian
Elf is no great gift, but it's cheery enough that you probably won't ask for your money back.
Thomas Delapa - Boulder Weekly
James Verniere - Boston Herald
It's just good, clean fun.
Kim Linekin - eye WEEKLY
Ferrell is lunatic perfect, skirting the sillier sentimentality of the story, while never missing an opportunity to indulge in its darker, more ridiculous excesses.
Prairie Miller - Long Island Press
Like School of Rock, Elf is an unexpected but thoroughly delightful surprise.
Daniel M. Kimmel - Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Will Ferrell simply glows.
Jeffrey Westhoff - Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)
A hilarious holiday film in which Ferrell continues to play the same adorable, naive persona he's adopted as his shtick.
Ryan Cracknell - Movie Views
Against every odd imaginable... emerges as the little holiday film that could.
Kevin A. Ranson - MovieCrypt.com
A sweet and sincere holiday tale about a perennial fish out of water.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
Divertido e ingenuo, este e um filme que capta com eficiencia o espirito do Natal.
Pablo Villaca - Cinema em Cena
How can you not love a guy who can say, "An elf's four major food groups are candy canes, candy CORNS, candy, and syrup," with a straight face?
Matt Easterbrook - Matt's Movie Reviews
Such comedy is strained, to say the least; even Ferrell's usual hilarity -- so fearless, so physical -- is constrained by this overpowering sweetness theme.
Cynthia Fuchs - PopMatters
Offensive instances of product placement put the lie to the idea that 'Elf' is more interested in promoting Christmas cheer than in collecting Christmas coin...
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
A bright spot in the budding holiday movie season.
Christopher Smith - Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Elf will warm the heart with nostalgia, dazzle the eyes, tickle the funny bone, and make Christmas feel like it can't come fast enough.
Brian Orndorf - FilmJerk.com
Baby, it's cold outside, and we could all use a little Elf to get us through the holidays.
Karina Montgomery - Cinerina
A small-minded, often unfunny Christmas movie made out of spiteful consideration for audiences' money-spending powers . . . sugary, dross-covered crap.
Brian Gibson - Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
Even [Ferrell] can't save it from descending into holiday schmaltz at the end, but he fights to keep it funny.
Michael W. Phillips, Jr. - Goatdog's Movies
Part of its charm is its old-fashioned visual appeal.
James Kendrick - Q Network Film Desk
Big laughs in an Elf-sized package.
Shawn Bowers - Kansas City Star
If you and yours see one film after your feast of pheasants make it this incredibly precious, delightfully sweet instant holiday classic Elf.
Emily Blunt - Blunt Review
With Ferrell's charm, this knowing wink to the Yuletide fuzzies of yore survives the saccharine assault that claims most "family" films released between Nov. 1 and Christmas.
Jonathan R. Perry - Tyler Morning Telegraph (Texas)
Supremely likeable, but it's content to be a prestigious variation of an Adam Sandler comedy rather than an inspired fantasy.
Mark Palermo - Coast (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
Will Ferrell's uninhibited physical comedy ignites this fish-out-of-water family film.
Tyler Hanley - Palo Alto Weekly
It's a bracingly subversive story told with tongue firmly in cheek.
Neil Smith - BBC
This is a decent holiday flick.
Kevin Carr - Film Threat
Audiences must have been VERY nice this year!
Linda Cook - Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)
Director Jon Favreau keeps the film sincere and adult for most of the running time.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
Will Ferrell's Elf is an absurdist's symbol of Gen X adultolescence.
Stephen Himes - Flak Magazine
We had a few great laughs and the kids seemed to enjoy it.
Kamal 'The Diva' Larsuel - 3BlackChicks Review
That rarest of beasts: an extremely funny Christmas-themed family comedy with a great script and a performance of comedy gold from Will Ferrell.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
Holiday comedy gives the talented Will Ferrell a chance to flail wildly -- yet warmly -- as a human raised by elves.
James Rocchi - Netflix
This is a fun movie that starts off a little cutesy, but really gets funny once the 'elf out of water' concept kicks into full-gear.
JoBlo - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
There is one joke here, and it is particularly loud.
Eugene Novikov - Film Blather
While sufficiently funny, charming and clever, Elf is no modern Christmas classic. But it will make Will Ferrell a bona fide star - and for good reason.
Nick Rogers - State Journal-Register (Springfield, IL)
...the film doles out Christmas warmth like a department store Santa handing out candy canes.
Tony Toscano - Talking Pictures (U.S.)
Buddy the elf, like high school killers Eric and Alex, feels that he doesn’t fit in.
Kevin N. Laforest - Montreal Film Journal
Elf proves that Christmas Spirit has indeed been replaced by commercialism.
Alex Sandell - Juicy Cerebellum
...innocuous, child-friendly fare with some truly enjoyable elements sprinkled into a healthy batch of Christmas mediocrity. Kinda like cinematic fruitcake.
John R. McEwen - Film Quips Online
Thankfully, it's never preachy -- though it does get a little gooey -- simply because in defining his own ideas of cool, Favreau is way too cool to preach.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Yes, Virginia, there is a reason to see Will Ferrell's new film. At least so long as you've got a preteen in tow.
Rick Kisonak - Film Threat
Elf isn't a pre-fabricated piece of synthetic Christmas cheer like The Santa Clause or Gov. Schwarzenegger's disastrous Jingle All the Way.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
The main part of the film is pretty lame, but there are some nice touches around the edges.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
the cheesiest thing I've witnessed since Lara Croft rode a shark to the surface of the Mediterranean (in a good way!)
Mike Sage - Peterborough This Week
Filled to bursting with joy, creativity, and good cheer, Elf is one early Christmas gift that does not disappoint.
Dustin Putman - DustinPutman.com
Berenbaum's script is as flaky as a handmade snowball but the sheer impishness of Ferrell's giddy on-screen persona seals the deal for the movie's wide-eyed off-kilter timing
Frank Ochieng - Movie Eye
From here on out, Elf is going to be a Christmas movie-watching tradition for me.
Mike McGranaghan - Aisle Seat
Not only is Elf an above-average Christmas movie, but it's that rare flick that's be designed to appeal to all ages.
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
A movie that's so profoundly ridiculous that it has to be admired, if for no other reason other than its sheer willingness to run with its premise and take it to the end of the line.
Marjorie Baumgarten - Austin Chronicle
Like all great holiday movies, Elf is a blend of humor and sweetness.
Mark Bazer - Boston Phoenix
Dean Essner - Boston Phoenix
Makes us believe that maybe Ferrell really was raised by elves.
Phil Villarreal - Arizona Daily Star
Not only is Ferrell a total crack-up in his green-velvet doublet and yellow tights, he's also great at physical comedy.
Franny French - Reel.com
A charming little film about trying to fit in, and kids (not to mention most adults) will relate to feeling clumsy and out-of-place, as well as the desire to be loved for who we are and to have our talents recognized.
Chris Knight - National Post
Ferrell, in his first leading role, peppers every scene with manic outbursts and joyous exclamations...
Sean Axmaker - Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Ferrell's natural ability to play the earnest, holy fool man-child, coupled with the immense slapstick potential of this 6-foot-plus oaf having been raised to act like one of Santa's teensy elves, makes for a central figure who is always fun.
Bob Strauss - Los Angeles Daily News
Ferrell's uncanny ability to project an all-consuming Christmas joy carries the day.
Betty Jo Tucker - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
A Christmas story that's almost more entertaining for the grown-ups than it is for the kiddies.
Cherryl Dawson and Leigh Ann Palone - TheMovieChicks.com
Falls short of a laugh riot but proves generally pleasing nonetheless.
Robert Denerstein - Denver Rocky Mountain News
Ferrell, God love him, just keeps up that industrial-strength happy face, enthusing like a lunatic until the idiotic Buddy becomes the de facto top dog of every scene.
Steve Schneider - Orlando Weekly
Christmas candy should never be this stale... especially so early in the season.
Rob Vaux - Flipside Movie Emporium
A hip, smart holiday film that is as surprising as it is predictable. That said, the best thing to do is sit back with a warm glass of eggnog and go along for the ride.
Spence D. - IGN Movies
Like a tacky Wal-Mart sweatshirt bedecked with sequined snowmen... Elf is a Christmas tchotchke.
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
Thanks to the sweet purity of Ferrell's portrayal -- and the script's fresh approach to time-worn traditions involving Santa and the Christmas spirit -- Elf might just qualify as a holiday perennial.
Jack Garner - Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Short and sweet.
Terry Lawson - Detroit Free Press
A resounding success in the laugh department, but it tries to warm hearts as well, and eventually collapses under the weight of its own sugarplum schmaltz.
Lisa Rose - Newark Star-Ledger
If you're looking for a spirit-of-the-season family film, this may jingle up some holiday cheer.
Susan Granger - www.susangranger.com
If Christmas ran on laughs, Ferrell would have us up to our butts in sugar plums.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
A delightful Christmas fable filled with candy-coated laughs for the whole family.
Louis B. Hobson - Jam! Movies
Engaging and offbeat.
Angel Cohn - TV Guide's Movie Guide
If we were ready to crown Ferrell a comedy king, we might want to reschedule the coronation.
Josh Larsen - Sun Publications (Chicago, IL)
New Line's Christmas gift for the ages -- timeless, touching and hilarious beyond all description.
Wade Major - Boxoffice Magazine
Thankfully, it's good kitsch, an all-ages Christmas story that will actually appeal to people of all ages.
Sean Means - Salt Lake Tribune
Funny and intelligently made, a film for kids and adults that's both sweet and sardonic.
Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle
Thanks to Ferrell, it's a tolerably sweet holiday treat.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
If you're one of those fussy filmgoers who demands that a movie engage somewhat higher body parts -- the heart, say, and the brain -- you'll find only intermittent comfort and joy in this high-concept, low-wattage film.
Shawn Levy - Oregonian
Will Ferrell's elf-portrait is not only funny, but it has got a big heart, too.
Dean Essner - E! Online
While the idea behind Elf may be gleefully outlandish, unfortunately this holiday comedy fails to take full advantage of its own absurdity.
Guylaine Cadorette - Hollywood.com
The film works not only as an innocuous family movie, but also as something of a hipster's pipe dream.
Joe Baltake - Sacramento Bee
This charming little holiday comedy is the movie equivalent of comfort food.
Jeff Vice - Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Liz Braun - Jam! Movies
Dean Essner - Baltimore Sun
Relentlessly silly holiday tale about a human raised by elves who travels to New York to find his long-lost father.
Joe Lozito - Big Picture Big Sound
Not aspiring to be much more than a simple fish-out-of-water comedy, Elf is sweet and a little hokey -- and has the makings of a holiday classic.
Erich Scholz - Citysearch
Tells us to slow down, smell the flowers, make snow angels and have fun.
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Will Farrell's lanky cluelessness has a slightly muddled but imperishable sweetness that gives an endearing quality to all the characters he plays.
Nell Minow - Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
There's not an ounce of meat in this Christmas ham - it's just the usual hollow holiday hype from Hollywood.
David Foucher - EDGE Boston
Ferrell handily carries the movie.
Phoebe Flowers - South Florida Sun-Sentinel
The humor ranges from silly-sweet to actively arcane, and the schmaltzy stuff is offset by a hipness that could only come from the guy responsible for Swingers.
Scott Weinberg - eFilmCritic.com
The joys of Elf come in small packages and also in economy-sized ones six feet three inches tall.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
A terrific movie, smart and funny enough to hold up at any time of year.
David Sterritt - Christian Science Monitor
One of the jolliest, funniest, most deliriously whimsical family comedies we've seen in quite a while.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
The best jokes earn the movie enough coasting time that the dry spells aren't so bad
Marty Mapes - Movie Habit
It's a close call for a while, but at the last moment the movie finally soars.
Bruce Newman - San Jose Mercury News
It is very smart, consistently very funny and, like the elevator ridden by our awestruck title character -- who wants to stop at every floor -- if you've got buttons to push, this movie will push 'em.
John Anderson - Newsday
Worth seeing, for one simple reason: Will Ferrell.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
It's the sort of holiday treat even a Grinch would love.
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie - Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Genuine awe and wonder, two crucial ingredients missing from most recent holiday comedies, are what makes Elf so much fun.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
Walter Chaw - Film Freak Central
Going up against the critically pelted The Matrix Revolutions, Elf may score mightily at the box office with its relative simplicity.
Susan Michals - FilmStew.com
The result is a good-natured and good-hearted film that is actually better than the dopey trailers might lead you to otherwise believe.
Peter Sobczynski - Critic Doctor
Even when he's being a prize idiot, eating chewed gum stuck on a subway entrance or walking in front of a moving cab, Ferrell stays peculiarly endearing.
Lawrence Toppman - Charlotte Observer
One of the better Christmas films to come along in a while, proving that a smart director and capable actors can turn a rote story into a welcome gift.
Josh Bell - Las Vegas Weekly
While it gives in to sentimentalism at the end ... for most of its 95-minute running time Elf is a charming adrenaline rush of comedy.
Jeffrey Overstreet - Looking Closer
Elf is by far the best effort by an SNL alum in many years.
Sue Pierman - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
A hairs' breadth away from becoming a Christmas classic, largely due to Ferrell's ferocious comedic instincts.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
The movie allows Favreau to gently tweak cutesy Mouse House production values without abandoning the concept, and it proves a splendid sandbox for his talents as director, actor and (who knew?) cartoonist.
Ella Taylor - L.A. Weekly
Buddy the elf's inherent kindheartedness and selfless good intentions are the saving-grace elements that Ferrell's performances have always been missing.
Rob Blackwelder - SPLICEDWire
A cheerfully inoffensive cinematic bauble that may be no more durable than a tree ornament but should charm the parents and kids who will flock to it.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
Favreau has created a cinematic Christmas gift, and Will Ferrell delivers it in a big, goofy, colorful, and fun package.
John Venable - Supercala.com
It's very difficult to recommend Elf
Geoffrey Kleinman - DVDTalk.com
The one thing we know is that Will Ferrell will take any chance possible to get a laugh in a movie and it works well here.
Richard Roeper - Ebert & Roeper
Buddy's happiness is out of place in New York City, and rather than simply laugh at it, I think deep down we all wish more people could be like him.
Steven Snyder - Zertinet Movies
Between Will Ferrell's loveable klutziness and Jon Favreau's knowing-when-enough-is-enough direction, it's a big, silly, warm-hearted Christmas season winner of a comedy.
Brian Webster - Apollo Guide
It has much better writing, directing, and acting than the Tim Allen Christmas films and the characters are just plain more likable.
Danny Minton - KBTV-NBC (Beaumont, TX)
It shouldn't come as a surprise that Ferrell's insane performance almost saves the show.
Ed Gonzalez - Slant Magazine
One of the year's best comedies, right up there with Finding Nemo, A Mighty Wind and School of Rock.
Ethan Alter - Film Journal International
A hilariously funny and absolutely precious family film, Elf is lots of fun even if you don't have any kids to take along.
Steve Rhodes - Internet Reviews
Ferrell's goofy innocence and gung-ho sense of the pratfall. . . is without guile and so full of good humor [he's] a walking Christmas carol in the home of the Bronx cheer
Andrea Chase - Killer Movie Reviews
Ferrell proves himself an absolute comedic genius.
Joshua Tyler - CinemaBlend.com
Yes, the story is truly silly, but it maintains a timeless quality that lets us suspend our cynical disbelief.
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall