Theatrical Release: November 7, 2003
DVD Release: November 16, 2004


A baby orphan named Buddy makes his way into Santa’s bag of toys one Christmas eve without Santa’s knowledge and is carried off to the North Pole. He is raised by Papa Elf (Bob Newhart) and spends his days in Santa’s workshop. As he grows much larger than his elf family, it becomes clear that he doesn’t fit in, so Santa (Ed Asner) sends him to New York City to find his family. Buddy (Will Ferrell), in his green elf suit, soon learns that life in New York is not all fun and games. He finds his grumpy family: his biological father (James Caan) who is on Santa’s naughty list, his new mother (Mary Steenburgen), and his 10-year-old half brother (Daniel Tay) who doesn’t believe in Santa or elves. The whole city of New York appears to have lost its Christmas spirit, so Buddy decides to save Christmas and win over his family. Along the way, he falls in love with Jovie (Zooey Deschanel), a department store elf.

Dove Review

Buddy (Will Ferrell) as a baby wound up in Santa’s sack and then ends up at the North Pole. He is raised as an elf but as the years pass it becomes obvious to all except himself that he is really a man. The day comes for Buddy to leave the North Pole and he travels to New York and finds his real father (James Caan). Buddy’s innocent ways gets on his father’s nerves but Buddy hits it off great with his step-mother (Mary Steenburgen) and his half-brother (Daniel Tay). He even finds a love interest with a girl named Jovie (Zooey Deschanel). As time passes, people learn that Buddy will reach out to anybody but the question becomes if his father will ever accept him or not. When an emergency happens in New York City, Buddy is reacquainted with Santa and attempts to rescue Santa’s faltering sleigh.

This movie does have some slapstick moments with Buddy surviving being struck by a cab, and also getting into a fight with a department store Santa when Buddy recognizes Santa is only a “fake.” However, Buddy’s loyalty to his family from the North Pole and his new family from New York is commendable and he sees the world as a child, with hope and warmth. We are delighted to award our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal to this movie for ages twelve plus. You’ll never think of an elf the same way again after seeing the movie “Elf”.

Content Description

Faith: None
Integrity: Character keeps a positive attitude during the best and worst of times; character decides to become a better father
Sex: Kissing by a couple.
Language: G/OMG-3; H-2; D-1; P-1; Friggin-1; A character is called a lazy bum; the phrase "Up yours" is used a couple of times.
Violence: A raccoon attacks a character but it is not bloody and is played as a joke; a character is struck by a cab but is alright and it's played as a gag; a character pulls a fake beard off the store Santa and he and Santa get into a fight and Santa hits him with a stick; a few characters are hit with snowballs and one of them hits the others with snowballs back with rapid firing; a character innocently calls a midget an elf who takes exception to it and punches the man.
Drugs: A few scenes with drinks including wine served with dinner; there is a song about having a drink; a man is briefly seen smoking; a man is seen drinking on the job and another character drinks for the first time and gets drunk.
Nudity: Man's chest seen as he showers; a woman's shoulders are seen as she showers.
Other: Flatulence from a character at the North Pole; a character chews chewed gum he picks up in the city; a man takes back books from a school because they are behind on payments; a long belch; a character eats cotton balls; an innocent man pulls off his tights in front of his step-mother; a character eats spaghetti with syrup and pop tarts.


Company: New Line/Fine Line
Director: Jon Favreau
Producer: Jon Berg
Genre: Comedy
Runtime: 97 min.
Industry Rating: PG
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter