Buddy makes fun of the disabled through Elf -- intentionally or not

Friday, December 31, 2021
author picture Arthur Petit
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Original content created by news.limited staff

In the Will Ferrell elf movie‚ the titular character‚ Buddy‚ is accidentally transported to the North Pole as a child and was raised by Santa's elves. But as an adult‚ Buddy finds himself not fitting in at home and leaves his magical life to return to his hometown of New York and find his real father. Walter Hobbs (James Caan)‚ a cynical businessman‚ reluctantly tries to establish a relationship with his adopted son. The film premiered in 2003. It was an instant success. Will Ferrell‚ a former Saturday Night Live host‚ was the voice of Santa Claus. In the film‚ he plays a young orphan named Buddy who was raised by elves at the North Pole. When he returns to human society‚ he is determined to rekindle his relationship with his biological father. The movie was a hit‚ earning over $220 million worldwide. In 2016‚ Forbes listed it as the fifth highest-grossing holiday movie. The film received great reviews‚ and the director‚ Don Bluth‚ gave the actor an award-winning performance. But there are still some questions. Will Ferrell turned down the role of a reindeer because he did not believe in the story. The director of the film‚ Don Bluth‚ is also hesitant to cast him in a sequel because of this. However‚ the studios do not think this is a problem.

will ferrell elf buddy makes fun of the disabled through elf intentionally or not
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  • Elf‚ a Christmas favorite of modern times‚ is mocking cognitively impaired people.
  • Buddys' (Will Ferrell)‚ disability isn't explicitly mentioned‚ but it is heavily implied.
  • You can make a comedy movie about disabled characters by including them in your joke.

Elf was a holiday favorite almost immediately after its 2003 debut. It still puzzles me almost twenty years later how offensive it can be to adults with cognitive disabilities. Will Ferrell plays Buddy‚ an alpha male who was raised in North Pole as an Elf and is ignorant about the human way. He accidentally hears that Buddy is human and he travels to New York City to find his father Walter Hobbes (James Caan)‚ who is a grinning publisher looking for lessons in kindness and love. Even Buddy's excitement for Christmas can be overwhelming‚ especially when compared with his fellow elf friends. It is therefore understandable that moviegoers feel the holiday spirit. The film is estimated to have grossed more than 23 million dollars worldwide. Box office mojo However‚ Elf was too long for me to watch without getting offended. I was able to endure the entire film without feeling offended.

Elf is the tale of an elf-adopted man who struggles to survive in a new world.

will ferrell elf buddy makes fun of the disabled through elf intentionally or not
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Will Ferrell attends the Elf premiere at NYC. Theo Wargo/WireImage Elf teaches us that Buddy is more than just a human being. Buddy's physical appearance is not the problem‚ even though his body wont allow him to use elf furniture. There is clearly a cognitive distinction between Buddy and the other Elfs. He has been called special many times at the North Pole. He is not a skilled toy maker and must take the post that has been reserved for him. A term that is used to describe people who have cognitive and physical disabilities‚ called special. This is often used to denote that someone is different or less than others. Buddy is also the North Pole's only elf who does not realize that he is human. Buddy's intelligence doesn't match that of an ordinary elf. Otherwise‚ he would not be as shocked by this revelation. It from there.  Buddy finally makes it to Manhattan. His father Walter uses derogatory language against him every time. Walter tells Buddy that Buddy is certifiably insane at the doctor's office‚ where he makes Buddy take a paternity exam. Walter later tells his wife that his son is an elf-man deranged when he talks to her. Walter mentions Buddy's chemical imbalances to Buddy at the end‚ even though he tells him he loves Buddy. If Buddy has never been accepted for his true self by the people who matter most to him‚ Elf won't be an uplifting story about acceptance.

Buddy may have a disability. The movie doesn't explicitly state that -- it wouldn't have been as strong if it did.

will ferrell elf buddy makes fun of the disabled through elf intentionally or not
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Elf. New Line Cinema I'm not trying to ruin a Christmas tradition‚ but Elf is offensive to me as a physical disabled mother who shared a part of her childhood with people who are cognitively impaired. Buddy does not have a disability. It is only implied. Elf would be required to accept responsibility for offensive language if it had declared a cognitive disability. This would have meant erasing much of the verbal and bodily comedy intended to be funny‚ but it's not for me. I find it hard to believe Buddy ate cotton balls and ran toward taxi cabs. Even exposing fake Santa Clauses in department stores doesn't make me laugh. These moments were a reminder of how much he needed a support network in his daily life. It is possible to make fun of disability‚ contrary to common belief. It is enough to inform disabled people that you are also in the fun. Casting disabled actors into roles that are not theirs is the easiest way. The film might have had at least one character who hurls abuse at Buddy. That moment is never to come. The message could have been more powerful if Buddy had shown the courage to stand up for his rights by the end. If David Berenbaum had truly committed to Buddy's empowerment‚ this would have been an important and rare gesture of support for the community with disabilities. Elf instead resorts to tired tropes for a laugh.

A joke should not be based on someone's differences.

will ferrell elf buddy makes fun of the disabled through elf intentionally or not
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Elf also featured Bob Newhart. Netflix. Some cognitively impaired adults‚ like Buddy‚ believe in Santa Claus and the magic that is Christmas. They bring joy to those they love. People who appreciate the importance of their contribution to the world will not likely insult them. Buddy is the hero of Elf Christmas‚ it is clear that. But he could also have been his champion. His implied disability‚ however‚ is an afterthought of the movie‚ perhaps as a metaphor for society's treatment of disabled people. Filmmakers should be mindful of how disabled characters will appear on television and film in the future. Making a christmas movie that is supposed to be fun They should remember that it is not funny to make someone's disability the heart of a joke. As a society we must accept this sooner than anyone else.