Box art for Elf


children & family, comedy

When one of Santa's elves learns that he's actually a human whom Santa inadvertently brought back from an orphanage when he was a baby

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 7
3 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
Educational value
0 out of 5
1 out of 5
Positive messages
4 out of 5
Positive role models
4 out of 5
Sexy Stuff
1 out of 5
Violence & scariness
1 out of 5

Peppy holiday favorite for both kids and parents.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that although Elf earned a PG rating for relatively rare potty language and mild swearing ("pissed," "hell," "damn," etc.) and a few references to bodily functions, it's family friendly at its core. Even young kids will appreciate the humor inherent in this fish-out-of-water tale, although some might be upset that Buddy's mother died and that his father never knew about him. The few action sequences (galloping rangers chasing Santa in Central Park, a brief confrontation with a scary raccoon, and some scuffles in a department store) aren't really threatening, and no one is injured. The movie's overall message of the value derived from honesty, acceptance, and affection for all humanity is clear and positive.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about whether Buddy is a role model. Do you think the movie intends for him to be someone people admire? Why or why not? Are you more likely to laugh at him or with him? Why? What's the difference?
  • If you arrived in your town after 30 years at the North Pole, what do you think might surprise and delight you the way that the escalator and revolving door surprised and delighted Buddy?
  • How does this movie compare to other Will Ferrell comedies? Why do you think he doesn't make more movies for kids?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 32
    see all Elf reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: As an original family film for the holidays, it's fresh, timely and quite funny.

- Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle, Friday, November 7, 2003

Fresh: Elf might be the last modern Christmas classic we see for a long time.

- Christian Toto, What Would Toto Watch?, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: Sure, Elf feels a little too feel-good at the end, but what do you expect? It's a Christmas movie! Anything else would be the cinematic equivalent of finding coal in your stocking.

- Christy Lemire, Associated Press, Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Audience Reviews

4 stars

One of the better Christmas movies. This is pretty cute and Will Farrell plays his adult moron (sorry, elf) role well. I love Zooey Deschanel as well - I would watch this just to hear her sing Baby it's Cold Outside. (I was so disappointed that on the She & Him Xmas album, the guy does the lead vocal on that song). I pretty much hate kids movies, but I have watched this one many times and enjoyed it.

- romy861, Saturday, December 7, 2013

3 stars

More spirited, affectionate and cute then you might think. Elf is a brilliant christmas film that keeps you entertained with an enjoyable story, hilarious comedy and an adorable performance from Will Ferrell.

- aquateen2, Sunday, November 20, 2011

4 stars

Elf is quite possible the single must watch Christmas film of all time, I mean I cannot imagine ever having a Christmas where I did not watch Elf, ever since I was a kid I have been watching this film with my family and fiends every Christmas, and I can honestly say Will Ferell is the thing that gives the film its everlating shine.

- DreamExtractor, Friday, November 25, 2011