‘Elf’ returns to Smith Opera House – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

‘Elf’ returns to Smith Opera House

One of the most popular and hilarious modern holiday films returns to the silver screen this season when Geneva's Smith Opera House presents “Elf” Dec. 16-19.

The plot tells how one Christmas Eve a long time ago, a baby at an orphanage crawled into Santa’s bag of toys and was accidentally carried back to the North Pole workshop. The baby, Buddy, was quickly taken under the wing of a surrogate father, played by Bob Newhart, and raised to be an elf. But as he grows to be three sizes larger than everyone else, it becomes clear that Buddy (Will Ferrell) will never truly fit into the elf world.

He needs to find his real family, so this holiday season, Buddy decides to find his true place in the world and sets off for New York City to track down his roots. Buddy's father, Walter, played by James Caan, turns out to be the sort who usually ends up on Santa's naughty list. A bad-tempered publisher of children's books, he isn't exactly thrilled when a lunatic in a green jacket, yellow tights and shoes with turned-up toes turns up in his office and calls him “Daddy.”

The misplaced elf also discovers his mother, played by Mary Steenburgen, and learns he has a 10-year-old half-brother, played by Daniel Tay, who doesn’t believe in Christmas or elves or Santa. It seems to Buddy that everyone has forgotten the true meaning of Christmas.

Ferrell's title character isn't just an overgrown elf; he's an overgrown child, embodying all the wonder and chestnut-roasting warmth of Christmastime. While Buddy can be touching, Ferrell never loses sight of the character's manic energy and sugar-rush excitement.

Those comprising the supporting cast add to the general merriment. Newhart is deliciously deadpan, even with an oversized Ferrell sitting on his lap. Caan redeems a dozen bad performances as a harried businessman with a bah-humbug streak. Ed Asner is just the kind of gruff but good-hearted fellow Santa should be.

The Smith Opera House will screen “Elf” starting at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16; Monday the 18th and Tuesday the 19th, with a matinée at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 17.

With a running time of 1:35, this film is rated PG. As a holiday gift to the community, all seats are just $3 and will be available at the box office. For details, call (315) 781-LIVE or toll-free (866) 355-LIVE.