Will Ferrell as a human raised by elves, leaving the womb of Santa's Workshop in full adulthood to track down his biological father, a bottom-line publisher of Kiddie Lit ("He's on the naughty list"). Directed by Jon Favreau, the film wants to play both sides of the street — to be a True-Spirit-of-Christmas sermon and at the same time be hip, cool, sardonic, and smarty-pants — and it ends up outstaying its welcome. We do, however, get some nicely worked-out detail, a better than average bumpkin-in-Manhattan montage, and a couple of well-played secondary characters: a harried and unwhimsical toy-department manager at Gimbel's (the hefty Faizon Love) and a self-important top-selling author of children's books (the pint-sized Peter Dinklage, of The Station Agent). With James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen, Bob Newhart, Edward Asner. (2003) — Duncan Shepherd
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