Buddy’s Musical Christmas is essentially an animated retelling of the film, condensed into a tidy 44 minute package, rife with sweetness, song, and silliness. After it becomes abundantly clear that Buddy (voiced by Jim Parsons) is not like the other elves, Santa (voiced by Ed Asner) reveals that Buddy was actually an orphan who crawled into his pack one Christmas Eve. Though raised by elves and possessing more optimism and cheer than all of them put together, Buddy is in fact human. Disappointingly, his real father has spent many, many years on the naughty list.
Determined to meet his real dad and get him back on the nice list, Buddy strikes out for New York City. He is surprised to find that the world is not exactly brimming with Christmas spirit, but Buddy doesn’t let that stop him. He finds a friend in department store elf, Jovie (voiced by Kate Micucci), and charms his way into his real father’s home. Soon Buddy’s sincerity and optimism has infused the family (and the city) with good old fashioned Christmas cheer.
Admittedly, Buddy’s wide-eyed optimism is pretty infectious, and it’s hard not to smile at a character so lacking in guile. Occasional well-placed eye rolls keep the special from becoming completely saccharine, and the blend of music, humor, and weird visuals keep things interesting. Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas is oddly reminiscent of classic Rankin Bass stop motion animation, with some random paper cut-outs and computer animation thrown in for good measure; kind of a hot mess befitting Buddy’s candy-coated outlook on life.
Extra features include “Elfin’ All The Way: Inside Buddy’s Recording Sessions”. This featurette goes behind the scenes with the voice actors who bring Buddy and all his friends to life.