5 Phenomenally Funny Christmas Movie Characters

movie_theatre - Phenom 5

Christmas movies come in all shapes and varieties. From Christian-themed films to the Hallmark Channel mush, the holiday has invited literally hundreds of movies. As you look at the vast library of Christmas films you can’t help but find a ton of really funny characters. That’s who we are looking at today. Undoubtedly many would come to mind at just the mention of funny Christmas movie characters. So with that in mind, I wouldn’t call this the definitive list. But there’s no denying that these a five funny Christmas movie characters are nothing short of phenomenal.

#5 – Myron Larabee (“Jingle All the Way”)

JINGLE

“Jingle All the Way” may not be considered a Christmas classic but it is one my family watches almost every year. Schwarzenegger plays the bad father who forgets to grab his son a Turbo-Man action figure for Christmas. He tears out on Christmas Eve to try to pick up what is the hottest toy of the holiday season. That’s when he runs into Myron played by Sinbad. I’ve never even a huge Sinbad fan but he’s really funny here. He plays on the deranged postal worker angle and becomes Arnie’s chief friend/rival in obtaining the elusive Turbo-Man. Myron has several laugh-out-loud lines and he’s a huge reason the movie is such fun (at least until the very end).

#4 – Harry and Marv (“Home Alone”)

HOME ALONE

Talk about stepping into a new role. Who would have ever thought Joe Pesci would be a highlight of a modern Christmas classic. Such is the case with “Home Alone”. In the film he teams up with Daniel Stern to form a suburban burglar team known as “The Wet Bandits”. Pesci and Stern are hilarious. The two numbskulls meet their match when they try and rob the home of 8-year old Kevin McCallister who has been accidentally left at home by his family. Harry and Marv fall prey to an assortment of Kevin’s booby traps which seem pulled right out of the classic Looney Tunes cartoons. They’re goofy and over-the-top, but they’re also a load of fun.

#3 – Papa Elf (“Elf”)

BOB NEWHART

Ok, this certainly isn’t a character in the same comedic vein as the others on this list, but he is an enormous reason I did the list to begin with. I’m talking about Papa Elf from the Christmas comedy “Elf”. Will Ferrell as Buddy would be the obvious selection here but I have to give some love to Bob Newhart. His casting was brilliant. There are several reasons he is so funny to me. First, we get Bob Newhart in tights and an elf outfit. Priceless! I can’t look at him without laughing. But then there is his serious, deadpan delivery which works to perfection. Newhart is just a funny guy and the way he handles this role cracks me up every time. He has to make my list.

#2 – Cousin Eddie (“Christmas Vacation”)

EDDIE

Surely you know Cousin Eddie would make this list, right? “Christmas Vacation” is a funny movie but the laughs go off the charts when Eddie and his family crash the Griswold family Christmas. Talk about stealing the show. Randy Quaid’s real-life misadventures proves that he has this type of character figured out. From Eddie’s wardrobes, to his antics, to his nutty lines, the movie is filled with one hysterical Eddie moment after another. As good as “Christmas Vacation” is, it’s safe to say it wouldn’t be the same without cousin Eddie. They just don’t get much funnier than him.

#1 – The Old Man (“A Christmas Story”)

CHRISTMAS STORY

As funny as all of the aforementioned characters are, there are none that make me laugh more than The Old Man (aka Ralphie’s father) in Bob Clark’s Christmas classic “A Christmas Story”. The late Darren McGavin Is nothing short of brilliant in his portrayal of this working-class father raising his family in Indiana. He has so many wonderful moments. His furnace and Oldsmobile battles, his bargaining with the Christmas tree man, his fights with the neighbors hound dogs, his major award. I could go on and on. He’s not only the funniest Christmas character but he’s one of my favorite characters period. And it’s all because of some very good writing and a fabulous performance from Darren McGavin. He’s my clear #1.

So what do you think of my list? I’d love to hear your favorite funny Christmas movie characters. Please take time to share your thoughts in the comments below.

“Elf” – 4 STARS

ELF

As I have mentioned before, Christmas movies are their own special brand of films. Much of what makes them good is centered on how well they tie into this wonderful holiday season. You can’t separate them from the holiday and their success depends on that relationship to Christmas. Jon Favreau’s “Elf” is a perfect example. Soaked with Christmas lore, “Elf” captures the sentimental spirit of Christmas within its clever and often times hilarious story. “Elf” is inseparable from Christmas and your perception of the holiday will naturally impact your perception of this movie. That’s probably why I can forgive its few flaws and appreciate it as a true holiday treat.

Will Ferrell stars in the film and that’s usually something that throws up red flags for me. I’m not a fan of Ferrell fan and this movie follows a formula that he has overused in the past. As in his movies such as “Semi-Pro” and “Blades of Glory”, he plays someone in an absurdly out-of-place position. But unlike those movies it really works here. He plays Buddy the Elf. He’s a toy maker at Santa’s workshop in the North Pole. But there are several noticeable differences between Buddy and the other elves, none more obvious than the fact that he’s 6’5 and not a good toy maker. His father Papa Elf (hilariously played by Bob Newhart fully decked out in an elf costume and tights) decides it’s time to reveal to Buddy that he’s really a human being. Feeling uncertainty about where he belongs, Buddy sets out on a journey to find his real father who he learns lives in the magical world of New York City.

It’s here that the absurdity really kicks in. Buddy arrives in New York City in full elf garb and with the full elf mentality and is faced with the concrete jungle that we are all familiar with. He comes face-to-face with many new things including New York cabbies, coffee shops, commercialized Christmas, and the overall lack of Christmas spirit. It’s truly side-splitting fun watching Buddy’s wacky elf sensibilities clash with the big city realism. This script gives us plenty of these moments but it never milks it dry. It’s a fish-out-of-water story that never overplays its hand and that is key to making it all work. Now of course it gets a little sappy at the end and it’s fairly predictable as well. But I go back to the type of movie it is and to end the movie any other way would be to subvert everything it’s trying to do.

ELF 1

There are also some really good and committed supporting performances worth mentioning. I love James Caan as Buddy’s real father. He’s a shrewd children’s book publisher who spends more time with his work than with his wife and young son. Caan is perfect for the role. I also really liked the lovely Zooey Deschanel as a Gimbel’s department store worker who catches Buddy’s eye. Like Buddy’s father, she too has lost her Christmas spirit, something that Buddy is eager to help her rediscover. Even the often times annoying Ed Asner is a nice fit as Santa Claus and Faizon Love has several funny scenes as Gimbel’s toy department manager. It’s a wonderful supporting cast who have a lot of fun with what they’re doing.

“Elf” is pure absurd silliness and I thoroughly enjoy it each time I see it. Even if you aren’t a Will Ferrell fan, something I can easily relate to, you’ll find this to be a fun holiday treat. It’s fairly simple and it does go heavy in the sentimentality at the end. But it’s also a warm and clever film that serves as great family friendly entertainment. Now I fully realize that this may not be up everyone’s alley, but for many others this is a picture that has become a true “must watch” movie of the Christmas season. That’s certainly the case at our house.