Parent reviews for Elf

Common Sense says

Peppy holiday favorite for both kids and parents.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 71 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 179 reviews
Adult Written bybarbkeith April 9, 2008

"Some people think the parents do it ..." (!!)

Liked this movie, overall.
But as a parent of children who still have a strong belief in S.C., I was disappointed with the discussion of there not being a Santa Claus and the subsequent line "some people say that the parents do it..." (!)
This was not something I wanted my young children to hear, as I'm sure the thought had not yet occurred to them! Was disappointed that the movie might plant my child's first seed of doubt about the existence of the "big red guy"!
Adult Written byJosh Calder December 15, 2018

How to avoid the doubting-Santa scene

Reviewers have expressed concern about the scene in which Papa Elf says that people doubt that Santa exists and that they think that it is actually the parents doing everything. To avoid little kids hearing that, you can mute for 30 seconds after Papa Elf says "As silly as it sounds ..." in the sleigh room scene; on DVD, this was from minute 7:40 to minute 8:10.
Parent Written byngeorgianow November 18, 2015

Makes me question Common Sense Media

If your reviewers think movie is for 7+ it makes me wonder about your other ratings. There is language, drinking, innuendos galore, not to mention the discussion over SC being the parents. Let me see, do I want to discuss with my child how someone gets a child they never knew they even had......ummmmm NO! Cute movie, for older ones.

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Parent of a 1 and 4-year-old Written byagency14 April 9, 2008

Not good for adoptive families

Very funny movie in many ways, and very enjoyable BUT a big warning to adoptive families: Buddy the elf goes off to NY to find his "real" dad, that being his biological father rather than the father who adopted him and raised him and is indeed his REAL father. Very problematic message for adoptive families or families with less traditional structures, who raise their children to understand that family is about love and who takes care of you, not biology. As much as I love this movie, it will be off limits to my son until he's much much older and more confident and comfortable with our adoptive family status.
Adult Written byMovies4MyKid December 15, 2020

Language and concepts are quite mature. Doubt around existence of Santa.

This movie is wholesome enough for watching with my partner and even my mom but I'd hesitate to show it to kids for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it includes some foul language and concepts that are mature. There is discussion around adoption and absent parenting as well as the fact that it raises doubts around the existence of Santa. Secondly, there is a scene that includes violence towards a "little person". The character is called names (inadvertently, by "Buddy"), and this brings up issues that would likely need to be debriefed for any kid who's sensitive to prejudice. In summary, there are plenty of great Christmas movies that are geared towards kids, but this isn't one of them due to the inclusion of more mature topics. Some parents may just gloss over these topics but there's no way my kid would accept a movie like this with no explanations.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Adult Written bydisneylovingmom December 6, 2019

Watch out for the "RUMOR PARENTS ARE SANTA" scene at the beginning.

When Papa Elf takes buddy in to show him the sleigh at the beginning of the movie, fast forward through it. Whoever wrote this thought that was a good idea to put in a family movie? *eye roll*

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Adult Written bychocolatecake123 December 11, 2020

Childish and extremely overrated

I saw this movie for the first (and, hopefully, the only) time last night. I found it extremely childish and overrated. Lots of people think this movie is “wholesome” and that Buddy is “innocent” and “cute”, but I think he’s a complete idiot (also, what the hell is “cute” about Will Ferrell?!) I guess you’re supposed to find his obnoxiousness funny and charming, but I found him insufferable. He’s usually rewarded for his idiotic behavior and actions, especially when Zooey Deschanel’s character falls for him (god, what a horrible romantic pairing between actors). Don’t even get me started on the “humor” in this movie... it’s childish and stupid, and neither I or my brother laughed once. It’s the same variety of humor you’ll find in your average Nickelodeon sitcom or Adam Sandler comedy film. So many idiotic burp and fart jokes, you’d think this was Grown Ups or something. However, most children (in addition to adults who behave like children, such as my father) will find this movie hilarious. So, in other words, my opinion is extremely unpopular and it means absolutely nothing amidst the sea of people who LOVE this movie! You can get it on Blu-ray for really cheap, and I’m sure your kids (and probably you) will love it. I just found no enjoyment in this movie (the opening credits were the only remotely enjoyable part for me, honestly). If you want a Christmas comedy film for the family that’s more entertaining than this one, try Home Alone. It’s a bit stupid, but it’s entertaining and, in my opinion, has more heart than Elf. Even A Christmas Story, from my recollection, is better (and I’m pretty sure I wrote a negative review of that movie years ago on this site). If you want something where most of the humor is derived from the main character acting like a fish out of water (but less idiotic than this and occasionally humorous), you can try the TV show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (although it’s a bit less kid-friendly).
So, yeah. I hated this movie, but I’m sure you’ll love it because nearly everyone else seems to. And if you like this movie, don’t feel ashamed.
Parent of a 6-year-old Written byAmr254 April 18, 2020

Not sure why everyone calls it a Family holiday movie.

I didn't really think the humor was that great and my (then) 3 and 5 year-olds didn't get most of it either. I agree that suggestions like parents being Santa is problematic. However, my main problem was Buddy's birth father (not always a nice guy) and the boardroom scene with a little person. The fighting and vague sexual references seemed unnecessary. A really silly, almost pointless, movie that didn't put anyone in my family in the holiday spirit.
The violence might not be a lot compared to many other movies, but for a "family" holiday movie it was too much.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byKchanmckay November 23, 2019
I love this movie but wanted to check and see if it would be appropriate for my kids. Crazy! I think I’ll head over to screen it and see what they say! I would not let my 9 and 7 year old watch this.

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult Written byVivivy January 1, 2019

The perfect Movie to watch with your family!(:

Elf is a fun movie to watch with your family.Some cursing is included ,but nothing to inappropriate .There are mentions of Santa Claus not being real .Although towards the end and at the beginning "Santa Claus" is present and believed to be real.All in all this movie is a fun,humorous,festive movie thats not only fun to watch around the holidays ,but all year around!(;

This title contains:

Positive role models
Parent of a 10-year-old Written byMovieman456 November 11, 2019
Great Christmas movie that kids can watch and adults
Adult Written byTAnnG December 19, 2018

The best christmas movie to watch ever!!!!

I love this movie, it is great for anyone. My siblings and I watch this every year for christmas. I love this movie soooo much because it is so cute and I just enjoy watching it and hearing my family laugh every time.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 7-year-old Written bysuchatreat June 9, 2021

A little sexy stuff but still good for kids

Everyone's heard of this movie - the story of a non-elf who is raised as one and winds up in NYC, completely unprepared but happy to figure it out. Buddy has a fantastic attitude and radiates positivity. There is a little bad language, and some sexy stuff, but it was still fine for our 7-year old, though we did have to explain a couple of things.
Parent of a 11 and 13-year-old Written byEmily H. December 20, 2020

The best holiday movie ever

This movie has become one of my favorite holiday traditions! We watch it every year and we still think it's hilarious. The humor and content are really fine for all ages in my opinion. Buddy's enthusiasm for Christmas is infectious!
Adult Written byfireemblemfangi... December 14, 2019

funny and cute

its a great movie but not for littler kids because the language, violence and adult content. I would recommend this movie for ages 12 and older.
Adult Written byVer1974 December 23, 2018

Had to stop watching after 20 mins

We sat down to watch this on Christmas Eve and my 8 and 10 year old children disliked it so much that we turned it off. I didn't read enough of the reviews here to see that there were warnings about "parents being Santa" and I got a very suspicious look from the kids. Parents could watch it first and see if it sits well with them. Wish I had done that!
Adult Written bydvdgirl December 5, 2018

eh ok.

Its alright . just another Xmas movie.

This title contains:

Parent of a 8-year-old Written bypapi99 December 3, 2018
Adult Written byian1856 . November 28, 2018

For those who were kids in an innocent age

I'm not a present-day parent, so I have no advice on how you should raise your kids. I will say, though, that this is one of the sweetest movies ever made. The casting is magnificent from top to bottom. The story is wonderfully rendered - thank you, Jon Favreau - and the performances are exceptional. After the 5th viewing, I love it even more. An absolute Christmas classic. Thank you, to all involved.
Adult Written bymesupermanreverse November 27, 2018


This is so boring! I almost slept while watching it!