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A human child raised by elves at the North Pole, learns of his human family and goes to live with them in New York City. - (Baker & Taylor)

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After years of specializing in playing obnoxiously oblivious nitwits, Saturday Night Live alum Will Ferrell has finally hit upon a role perfectly tuned to his niche talent--an obnoxiously oblivious nitwit orphan who grew up at the North Pole thinking he's one of Santa's helpers. Buddy the elf's inherent kindheartedness and selfless good intentions are the saving-grace elements that Ferrell's performances have always been missing in the past, and they help make Elf a rare Christmas comedy that is somehow both astutely droll and full of family-friendly holiday good cheer. After he's finally told why he's three feet taller than his peers and "the only baritone in the elf choir," Buddy embarks on a clueless, wide-eyed journey to Manhattan in search of his real father (James Caan), a cynical children's book publisher who is--gasp!--on Santa's "naughty list." Directed by Jon Favreau (best known as writer and star of Swingers), Elf strikes a nimble balance between its kid-conscious sensibilities and its snarky sense of humor, but it's saddled with a subplot about a shortage of Christmas spirit causing a power crisis on Santa's sleigh that falls a little flat. A strong optional purchase. (R. Blackwelder) Copyright Video Librarian Reviews 2004.

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