Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas Adaptation of Adaptation -- But Winner with Kids

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Elf Buddy Musical Christmas Jim Parsons Ed Asner Santa

If you've already seen Will Ferrell's ELF, then you will notice very quickly that ELF: BUDDY'S CHRISTMAS MUSICAL is the condensed version of the same story, squeezed into a lesser running time by eliminating extraneous characters like Bob Newhart's Papa Elf and merging other characters into single ones, as is the case with Mr. Greenway, who is the publisher but with the characteristics of Peter Dinklage's author character.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it does make the grown-up viewer walking away feeling as though they were given less than expected.

On the plus side, however, the animated musical is splendidly cast. BIG BANG THEORY's Jim Parsons is a natural for the character of Buddy the Elf, and Kate Micucci makes a wonderful Jovie -- even if the two don't work together in a department store. I was glad to hear Ed Asner reprise his role as Santa, but I had no idea until the credits that the role of Walter, Buddy's estranged father, was voiced by STAR WARS and BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES alum, Mark Hamill. Gilbert Gottfried lends his trademark screech to the diminutive Mr. Greenway, and Jay Leno gets a spot as the department store Santa that Buddy outs as a fake.

Although it caters to the short attention span audience, ELF: BUDDY'S MUSICAL CHRISTMAS has a lovably goofy Aardman-style animation style and a quick-moving story. I'll still stick with the original (which is actually two layers removed from this version, the Broadway musical being the intermediary adaptation on which this cartoon is based), but my younger son prefers the cartoon. And in the end, when you're hauling out the Christmas movies to occupy the kids, that's really what drives the decision making process.

3.5 / 5.0