2 StarsElf-Man is a light and fluffy holiday entertainment. Similar to many real-life holiday get-togethers with the family, this comedy starts out pleasantly enough but degenerates into monotony. Until it finally exposes itself to be an inoffensive, but formulaic hodgepodge of childish humor and unsuccessful attempts to tug at the heart.
The only term I could think of to describe this movie accurately is cute. Santa’s elves use handheld electronic tablets with the list of naughty or nice children, but wouldn’t you know it; when he is away they are browsing elfbook. Directed by Ethan Wiley, a man with only horror films on his resumé, from a script co-written with Richard Jefferies, another alumnus from the horror genre. Jeffery Combs, whom some may recall was the creep presence in the cult classic Re-animator, is totally wasted as the lead villain.
There are a few amusing bits including a homage to Sergio Leone’s finale in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Elf-man makes a half-hearted attempt to morph into a superhero origins fable mid-way through. Yet, it is far more successful when sticking to the slapstick elements and a nice holiday message about believing in miracles. While assuredly not for the Jackass crowd, Elf-Man is likely to please undemanding young viewers with Christmas on the brain.
Director: Ethan Wiley
Stars: Jason ‘Wee Man’ Acuña, Jeffrey Combs, Mackenzie Astin