Ah, being a child in the nineties: GameBoys, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, early Pixar films, Batman: The Animated Series and Pokemon trading cards. But when it comes to Christmas films, one of my favorites as a youngster was Jingle All the Way, which was not only one of my first Christmas films at the cinema, but also my first Arnold Schwarzenegger film.
With this being a staple among the massive amount of films I watch for the holiday season each year (including The Muppets Christmas Carol, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Elf), I thought that it would be a great excuse to write about this childhood film of mine and seeing how it stands as a festive treat after all these years.
The film opens up with a tacky-looking children’s action show featuring Turbo Man saving the president’s family from his arch nemesis, Dementor. The camera zooms out to reveal that Jamie Langston (Jake Lloyd) is watching the popular television show based on the Turbo Man character. After the show reaches the end credits, his mum Liz (played by Rita Wilson) takes him to his karate lesson and tells him his Dad will make it.
We then cut to a Christmas party at a big mattress company and Howard Langston (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is selling mattresses into the night to his loyal customers and after being late to get to his son’s karate lesson with Officer Hummell giving him some road tests in a traffic jam, he tries to make it up to his son by promising to buy him the biggest selling toy: the new Turbo Man action figure.
With only one day left before Christmas day, Howard is determined to get the new toy, having to compete against mailman Myron (Sinbad), a band of thieving Santas led by James Belushi, avoiding Officer Hammell and eventually getting caught up in a ridiculous scenario with a parade.
For those who have not seen the film yet and read this article so far, this is indeed one of the silliest Christmas films that I have seen and that is what still makes this watchable to a certain degree.
Sinbad’s character is extremely fast-talking and crazy that reminded me of Donkey from the Shrek films, which did become quite annoying at times to watch. However, there would be times where his character would be funny and not because of his character or the dialogue, but the fact that he would be competing against a famous action star, who previously faced off against a Predator and the T-1000, in such crazy situations for an action figure.
The scene where Howard finds himself in a warehouse filled with crooked Santas is one of the true highlights of the film, as it quickly gets into a fight between Schwarzenegger and the gang of crooked Santas, especially since there are encounters of some small Santas and Elves and a giant, bulking Santa that is so strong that his punch sends one of the small Santas literally flying across the room in a high pitched screech. The fight is only more ridiculous when you see close-ups of Schwarzenegger’s wide-eyed comedic reactions.
There are so much crazy stuff happening in this film that it would take up quite a lot of space just to explain this film: there is the questionably creepy neighbor Ted, Myron actually using a bomb without knowing it that explodes in Officer Hummell’s face (and lives!), Schwarzenegger punching a reindeer in the face and later giving it some alcohol, every small person making high-pitched noises for comic effect and everyone falling over with cross eyes. But along with all this crazy stuff the script does try to tell a story with a message that makes it that much watchable and funny to see the silly wackiness happening.
With a cocktail of Schwarzenegger, the young brat that is Anakin Skywalker from The Phantom Menace and the most bizarre situations wrapped in a Christmas setting, Jingle All The Way is not the best film to watch during the holiday, but it is for sure one of the most fun to watch and if you have not seen it yet and found what you read interesting, you will be in for a treat! Oh, and “PUT THE COOKIE DOWN!!!”. Love the quote and just wanted to say it!