Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA/Germany, 2003. New Line Cinema, Guy Walks into a Bar Productions. Screenplay by David Berenbaum. Cinematography by Greg Gardiner. Produced by Jon Berg, Todd Komarnicki, Shauna Robertson. Music by John Debney. Production Design by Rusty Smith. Costume Design by Laura Jean Shannon. Film Editing by Dan Lebental.
Will Ferrell plays a man who, as a baby, was accidentally carted off by Santa Claus (Edward Asner) in his sack to the North Pole. When he arrived there, he was taken in by a kindly old elf (Bob Newhart) and raised to be a toymaker despite being six feet taller than everyone around him. Now that he has found out his human origins, he boards an ice floe and heads for New York City in search of his real father (James Caan). His happy-go-lucky attitude finds itself directly opposed to the witty cynicism of New York, and yet somehow he manages to not only survive but to make a family for himself, fall in love with a beautiful department store employee (Zooey Deschanel) and restore the Christmas spirit to the world (or at least Manhattan). This hilarious family film is the highest note in good holiday fun, and Ferrell’s performance is so delightful because it is not only very funny but very sincere. The sweet notes to this terrific comedy, directed by Swingers‘s Jon Favreau (who also makes a cameo), only make the hijinks that much more meaningful. Mary Steenburgen is terrific as Caan’s lovely wife.