I have to start off by saying that I’m not very big on the holidays, especially Christmas. I’m not a Grinch or Scrooge by any means, but it just doesn’t get me very excited. I dislike most of the Christmas music I have to hear at work or on the radio, and I’m not a big fan of very many Christmas movies. This year, I watched four. I watched A Christmas Story last week, which is my favorite Christmas movie. And then on Christmas day I watched A Christmas Story 2 which I had to watch just to see if it was as bad as I thought it would be. It wasn’t. Of course, it wasn’t anywhere near the quality of the original, but it was just fairly mediocre. I ended Christmas day with Christmas Vacation which I hadn’t seen in years and loved every minute of. And somewhere in the middle I fit in Elf-Man. It turns out that superheroes and Christmas don’t intersect very often. As far as I can tell there’s only this movie and Batman Returns which takes place during Christmas. If there’s any others, I’m not aware of them. This movie came out just this year and I figured Christmas day was as good a time as any to get it out of the way. Similar to Christmas Story 2, it wasn’t quite bad enough to enjoy it on a whole different level, but it’s also not the next Christmas classic either. For Jena’s part, who I realized I haven’t mentioned much in a long while, she enjoyed it quite a bit and has already mentioned wanting to watch it again.
This movie seems like it took a bunch of standard Christmas cliches, threw them in a blender, added some off the wall elements, and Wee-Man, and came up with this movie. It starts out like a standard family Christmas movie; there’s a dad with two kids, his wife had passed recently enough for them to still be sad, but long enough that the family is ok with the dad moving on to someone else. There’s also a grandmother who’s visiting for the holidays and brings them a fruitcake which the children promptly place in a cabinet with years of her other fruitcakes. Because we all know that fruitcake humor is about as original as it gets. Oh, did I mention that the dad is also a scientist who created a new solar cell that can power an entire house by itself in his home laboratory? That’s new. He also gets himself kidnapped by three Home Alone style bumbling criminals who want to sell the chip on the black market, though I don’t think the movie ever really explains how the criminals even happened upon the information about the chip.
I’m getting sidetracked here, let’s get back to the magic that makes this a Christmas movie. As I mentioned, the dad is kidnapped on Christmas Eve and never makes it home before the kids’ bedtime. And earlier, he gave the kids his old wooden elf doll, which their grandmother said if they wished on it hard enough, it may just come true. The daughter wishes for their dad to come home, and since it’s Christmas Eve, Santa soon shows up with two elves along for the ride. His assistant elf with an iPad-ish device listing all the good kids, and under this house is marked “special wish”. While Santa goes in to deliver presents, Wee-Man shows up, and apparently he’s the reindeer poop collector. Seriously. I wish I were making this up. And he uses a stocking on a stick to collect it. While Santa is down below, he hears crying and goes up to find the little girl whose name I forget, clutching the elf doll and bawling her eyes out. Santa appears to be sad and thoughtful, but just leaves like a big jerk because his assistant elf says they’re running behind schedule. Wee-Man falls out of the sleigh and checks out the house while he waits for Santa to come back. And eventually befriends and helps the family, gets the dad back, and becomes a superhero kinda.
Now, I usually don’t go this far into detail when talking about a movie’s plot, but let’s face it. I doubt any of you reading this will see the movie, and I just have to ask a few questions about this first section that doesn’t make any sense to me. It seems like there’s a whole system in place for Santa to know that the house required special attention, but he doesn’t seem to care one bit. He either: A. hears the crying child, sees the “special wish” note and doesn’t care one lick about it and the scooper elf falls off by accident. Or B. decides to give the misfit elf a chance to prove himself and facilitates the whole “falling out of the sleigh” on purpose, but doesn’t tell the misfit elf what the plan is, what he’s supposed to do, or even send an elf trained for the job. Not only that, but at the end of the movie, Santa never even comes back for the elf, Elf-Man makes his own way back. Talk about the worst Santa ever.
Anyway, this is a superhero movie so I should get to the superhero section. As I mentioned, there are three bungling criminals who have the dad captive. And the elf has his own bit of Christmas magic, like the ability to turn horribly burnt cookies into fresh delicious ones, and turn regular household objects into toys, and other similar abilities. At some point, the girl starts taking to calling him “Elf-Man”, and after his first failed attempt at rescuing the father, he’s discouraged and is waiting for Santa to come for him. The kids, grandmother, and dad’s love interest join together and create a homemade costume for him to give him some self-confidence, which he magically turns into a more professional looking costume before going to foil the criminals once and for all. There’s not really much more to say about it, the heroics are fairly uninteresting. In fact, the family ends up doing half the work. There’s plenty of family movie cliches, like the kids using all the old fruitcakes as projectiles, one of the criminals doesn’t have his heart fully in it, there’s a fat cop who’s even more bungling than the criminals, the grandmother gets the last word with the crooks, and the dad and the butcher lady get together in the end. There were a small handful of bits I actually thought were funny, and I appreciated the attempt at the heartwarming moments, but too much of the movie were things I’d seen before dozens of times.
I do have to mention one bizarre moment in the movie though. Somehow, mistletoe is actually like Kryptonite to an elf. And even more bizarrely, the crooks somehow know this and use it to subdue the elf towards the end of the movie. Not only that, but instead of just picking the mistletoe up and tossing it aside, they have to counteract the negative energy by placing it above their father and the butcher lady’s heads and have them kiss. At one point they utter the line “It’s not working, keep kissing!” I must have missed that section on elf mythology. As a whole, I didn’t hate the movie, but I will try my hardest to steer Jena in the direction of a different movie to watch rather than watch this again. I’d recommend it only for morbid curiosity. Wee-man is by no means an actor, but on the plus side, the father looks uncannily like a less cool Clark Gregg. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.