Jingle All The Way
I have gone on already about the problems of materialism around the holidays. I find it very sour whenever people become blinded by sales prices rather then family. All these people think about is that if they get that special something for their loved one, then they are the greatest person. But many people don’t want an expensive toy; all they want is the person. Christmas is about people coming together, so I would rather simply visit my grandparents then get an expensive flashy gift. There’s no need for the latest G.I. Joe action figure; just send me your love and I’ll love you back.
People go nuts about buying gifts because this is time to bring joy by making a wish. The Christmas season has had many instances with Cabbage-Patch Kids and Tickle-Me-Elmo’s that have sent parents to the mall by herds of cattle. It’s a jungle, but someone has to make the sacrifice of storming through the toy trenches. Who better then Arnold Schwarzenegger to fight off other parents? Jingle All The Way has him fighting his way through toy stores to find the perfect gift for his son.
Howard Langston (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) is an owner of a mattress store who is more caught up with his business then his family. He ends up missing another family event in which his son Jaime gets his next karate belt. This puts him even further way from his wife Liz (played by Rita Wilson) and Jaime. After a talk, Howard declares that he’ll make it up to him by buying him the one thing he wants for Christmas, a Turbo Man action doll. Poor Howard has no idea that the doll is the most sought out toy of the season. So he spends Christmas Eve making it his mission that he’ll find that toy.
Upon going to the first toy store, he runs into a mentally unstable mailman named Myron (played by comedian Sinbad). He too is seeking out the doll for his kid. Any sane person could see this man more likely to gun down people then buying a Christmas gift. As soon as the doors open, Howard finds that the shelves for Turbo Man are empty. Not giving up, he searches many stores through a montage while eventually finding himself at the Mall of America. He meets up with a Santa (Played by Jim Belushi) that also turns out to be a crook. Howard has met his match.
Jingle All The Way is a movie that really seems to be trying a Schwarzenegger meets Home Alone concept. What works is Schwarzenegger. To be honest, he’s only an okay actor, but he’s still doing what he does best; his delivery. Whenever I see a movie of his, rarely do I separate the actor from the character. Schwarzenegger is basically playing the same guy in most of his movies; a tough guy with a heart of gold. His character only works because of him. If they had had any other actor playing Howard, then this would be a dumb comedy.
Speaking of Home Alone, This movie has a lot of slapstick that seems to be borrowed from it. It's not that I hate slapstick (Home Alone has some great slapstick), but here it feels a little forced. You get people falling off of shelves, biting each other for bouncing balls, and even Myron threatening a radio DJ with a bomb if he doesn’t win the Turbo Man doll he announced. I find the first two-thirds of the film funnier as it focuses on exaggerating the commercialism around Christmas. From what I hear, people really do go crazy when the next big toy comes out. Though I won’t spoil the ending, the climax is a bit of a let down as it goes for straight up gags to finish off the movie. I can see some genuine hits at the crazy shopping scene, but it does a little too much with the slapstick.
I’ll give this three Turbo Man toys out of five. Though it does become a little stupid, I’ll admit that I watch this every year. The biggest strength of Jingle All The Way is literally Schwarzenegger. I just find his stiff delivery and overly aggravated attitude very funny. It is classic Arnold enjoyment. If your in the mood for a Schwarzenegger Christmas, give it a rent.