Bomb Rating: 

Though billed as a comedy, this movie was difficult for me to watch, because it features Ed Asner as Santa and I suffer from a unique phobia called eabhaphobia: the fear of ever laying eyes on Ed Asner's bare hairy ass. Since the chances of seeing Ed Asner's bare, hairy ass (known in my support group as "the EABHA") increase significantly when he's cast in a movie I'm watching, I spent much of the film in a fetal position, weeping in fear and praying to Buddha that the humor level wouldn't sink to the point where Santa had to be depantsed for any reason.

I can report to eabhaphobics everywhere that while you will be spared the EABHA, there are plenty of other reasons to fear this movie. Will Ferrell plays Buddy Elf, an orphan raised by elves at the North Pole. After 20 years or so of banging his head on the little elf doorways and clogging up the little elf toilets, he learns the truth about his origins and journeys to New York City to find his father (James Caan).

Naturally, this leads to lots of predictable "elf out of water" humor as Buddy wanders around the city dodging rude people and taxicabs. Initially, no one knows what to make of Buddy, but wouldn't you know it? Through his positive outlook and charming naivetŽ, Buddy the Elf inspires a 180-degree turnaround in everyone he meets. He's like the elf Jesus.

Which is what makes me cranky about being force-fed this kind of feel-good holiday fare: There's not even a pretense of suspense. When Santa's sled crash-lands in Central Park, does Buddy manage to save Christmas, or is Santa killed in a knife fight? A naked Ed Asner would at least have been somewhat interesting.

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