28
Nov 03

I was trying to work out what it was about Elf that reminded me of Ghostbusters.

Do You SeePost a comment • 382 views

I was trying to work out what it was about Elf that reminded me of Ghostbusters. I loved Ghostbusters as a kid, and really rather like Elf. Perhaps it is the slightly fantasy setting of both films. The fact that both are firmly rooted in a vision of New York being a slightly curmudgeonly wonderland. Perhaps it is just the Saturday Night live alumnus aspect. Probably what it has most in common is an appeal to both kids and the ads. Jphn favreau has managed to direct a film which fakes a subversive attitude but is at its core really, really sweet.

It helps that the casting is so good. Bob Newhart is wonderfully doddery as Papa Elf, and frankly Ed Asner current owns the role of Santa. The New Yorkers also manage to convince, Zooey Deschanel is winning in a hugely underwritten role, and Caan and Steenburgen really do convince as a vaguely (but only vaguely) unhappy couple. The film rises and falls on Will Ferrell though, who grins his way through the film, perhaps equating innocence too much with stupidity, but wrings laughs out of the lamest of set-ups. One of the nicest things about Elf is how it has been properly screenwritten, the plot – whilst ludicrous – makes just about enough sense for it to be funny and heartwarming. A very good family film, which probably sounds like faint praise, so go back to the Ghostbusters analogy.

Oh, I’ve finally realised. The reason it reminds me so much of Ghostbusters: is it has the same resolution as Ghostbusters 2. Don’t let that put you off.

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