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Jingle all the Way (1996)

Directed by Brian Levant Written by Randy Kornfield

  Hey, I’ve already got the films, might as well start getting in the christmas spirit…Bah Humbug. 😀 This film should resonate with parents of the 90’s specifically as I right away think of Elmo, Furbies or even the Cabbage patch kid dolls. Such insanity for something that will be played with and tossed aside at the sight of the next”just as cool” toy. Though to insist this being something only aimed at children would be just as silly. Adults gets warped into thinking the more designer labels they adorn, the better they can feel about themselves at owning such expensive items. Is that any better a portrayal? The need and want factor too often get confused and I’m sure bright lights and sale signs can be the equivalent of a moth to a flame. But I suppose that’s the holiday spirit!

  Premise: The toy in demand is Turbo Man. Howard (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a busy enough man with even less time for his family because of the hours put in at work. After missing his son get his next belt in Karate, he continues to make promises he cannot keep with a later inquiry from his wife Liz (Rita Wilson) on Christmas Eve if actually having purchased the toy. “Lies, all lies!” Though he plays it off as having left it at the office and instead goes on an excursion to locate the impossible with the clock winding down. He meets fellow Dad Myron, (Sinbad) in search of the same doll as the two duke it out to see who can be considered the better parental unit, ending at the Wintertainment parade where the ultimate showdown between the characters is done live-action like never seen before.

The Good: Besides enjoying Arnold’s action films, I just as much enjoy his sometimes random comedic, “family” films. His interactions with Sinbad were hilarious and were great to pin against the other. There’s a moment where they end up in a DJ booth with a cameo from Martin Mull (Mr. Craft from Sabrina the Teenage Witch). But Sinbad starts going on about having a bomb and having held on to it in case of emergency, eventually fooling the police as an officer states having bomb squad experience and the package blows up. But Sinbad’s disgusted that an actual bomb would even be in there as he exits the building. The reason I found it funny being because it was the same officer Howard keeps running into through the movie following terrible circumstances. Rita Wilson is usually good but didn’t have an as prominent role as others though she was entertaining in her supposed aspect. Phil Hartman character Ted constantly hit on Howard’s wife by being overly nice and pointing out the husband’s flaws whenever able. A scene in particular of stating how awesome his wife’s cookies were over the phone when Howard can’t take anymore and exclaims “Put that cookie down, now!” Finally making his move after driving to the parade where Liz is sure to set the record straight and punch him in the face with his thermos. There was also small cameos by Chris Parnell and James Belushi though Belushi’s was by far, the better appearance. He played a mall santa that tried to sell Howard a faulty toy and gets his arse kicked after discovering the truth. But was a front man for an entire operation that pro wrestler, The Giant, even seemed involved in.

The Bad: I’m going to have to take one from the late George Carlin here and say that not every kid is a cute one. Which must follow in that I did find the main kid, Jamie (Jake Lloyd) pretty annoying. Yes, he was also young Anakin and wasn’t sure how I felt about that either. It also bothered me that the belts in karate were way off. That’s something small and silly of course but it just the same could have been corrected if looking up I’m sure. While the story is warming in some essence of a father doing what he can to ensure his son’s happiness, the simple fact remains that it’s his own fault. If he would have just gotten the toy then the entire thing could have been avoided. Which were no small events by any means; bringing down a secret organization of thieving santa’s, starting a fire in Ted’s house and chasing down a child in hopes of snatching a bouncy ball out of her hand and beaten in return for thinking he was a pervert.

The Verdict: Always seems to entertain me whenever watching and is certainly a good film to watch with family. The special features have something meant to mock Behind the Music, but about Turbo Man which was a funny addition. There are a couple of instances that strict parents may not enjoy, a few words said and Howard does give a reindeer some beer. But am I mistaken in thinking parents wouldn’t just lie and say it was something else or not care at all? Overall not a bad film and one I can honestly say I end up watching each year.