An uncanny gift for physical comedy helps Will Ferrell propel this festive family movie along, even though it's barely more than a string of sketches held together by a conventional plot.
His giant-among-elves character first amuses with his mere size, but in New York he's an outcast of a different kind: a wide-eyed, relentlessly cheerful child in a man's body whose elf-talk convinces everyone he's a nutjob.
The gags swing between mildly inventive and screamingly obvious, but even the latter are performed and timed well enough to draw a laugh. The plot, however, is so overshadowed by comic set-pieces that its ending fails to deliver the emotional impact it should. And it doesn't help that the supporting characters are either overexposed (we see far too much of Buddy's father at his work, for example) or underdeveloped (love interest Jovie is likeable but sidelined).