It’s definitely still Christmas in my mind…
Let’s get one thing straight, Jingle All the Way is a bad film. The acting is bad, the script is bad, the cinematography leaves a lot to be desired and the special effects are laughable at best. But for some odd reason it isn’t terrible, despite the sum of its parts.
Arnold Schwarzenegger leads as Howard Langston, a man on his quest to get his son Jamie (Jake Lloyd) a highly sought-after Turbo-Man action figure, trouble is, he left it until Christmas Eve to buy one. During his search to find one of the toys, he meets Myron (Sinbad): a fellow father also looking to purchase a Turbo-Man. It quickly develops that Howard and Myron are rivals in their quests and the majority of the film is based around different attempts to buy a Turbo-Man, with each scenario becoming more and more ridiculous respectively.
Throughout the film we are told Howard is not a good father or husband, never finding time to be with his family. In these moments we see his wife Liz (Rita Wilson) and their next door neighbour Ted Maltin played by the late Phil Hartman arguing about Howard, who, compared to Ted (a “super-dad”) is not a good man. These add further character to the film’s narrative, which otherwise is a repetitive affair, with Howard consistently running into Myron and a police-officer called Alexander Hummell (Robert Conrad).
The film is simple (as it should be), and definitely feels like a family comedy; with humour ranging from ridiculous fight-scenes to um, ridiculous fight scenes. Everything in the film ends in a tiff, which is silly, because no one else looks like anything of a match for Arnie: none of them are army men or nutters, just normal people. While the intentional jokes are not funny, you can’t help but laugh at the film – it is so bad that it’s good.
Jingle All the Way is the kind of film you can just throw on, and get some kind of enjoyment from. However, it is undeniably a bad film. Ultimately, the plot doesn’t really build to anything, and how it gets there is fairly uninspired – but did anybody honestly expect more from a Schwarzenegger family Christmas comedy? It ticks the right boxes and doesn’t take itself seriously beyond its schmaltzy ending with a moral kick in the gut.
However, when given the choice of what films to put on at Christmas, Jingle All the Way is near the bottom of my list. It doesn’t come near films like Elf, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Arthur Christmas or even a Muppet’s Christmas Carol. However, as a curio for fans of Schwarzenegger, Jingle All the Way has to be seen, this is the audience for the film these days and they’ll certainly get a kick from how bad it is.
Jingle All the Way is a bad film, but enjoyable because of this. You’ll find yourself laughing at how bad it is, instead of the jokes in it. For people who aren’t fans of Arnie, you can safely ignore (and judge) this film for what it is, but fans of Arnie should certainly get a kick from the film’s terrible quality.
I wonder if the film ever had the mass appeal of Turbo-Man?