Elf - Director: Jon Favreau (2003)

Elf is a beautiful Christmas film; so funny and so gentle that you can't fail to be warmed by it. If it doesn't toast your heart, you must be The Grinch!

Will Ferrell plays Buddy the elf, except he isn't really an elf as he crawled into Santa's sack when he was a baby at an orphanage. He is raised by elves in the North Pole and is one day told about his real father who lives in New York so he sets off on a quest (past the forest of candy canes) to find him. What follows is a series of hilarious antics as Buddy tries to fit in with 'human' and New York life.

Will Ferrell, as always, is a joy; as Buddy, his wide-eyed innocence is brilliantly portrayed and he's a delight to watch. Stand-out scenes include Buddy welcoming a fellow 'elf' - the extremely short and arrogant Miles Finch - and getting drunk on 'syrup', then dancing on a table for his fellow mailroom work colleagues.

The only slight letdown is the cheesy ending about Santa's sleigh crash-landing in Central Park as no-one has Christmas spirit any more; Christmas spirit powers Santa's sleigh after all. Zooey Deschanel as Buddy's girlfriend Jovie encourages an impromptu Christmas sing-a-long which is a bit too sickly sweet. Apart from that, this, along with Bad Santa, is one of the standout Christmas movies.