Jingle All The Way (1996)

I’m sad to say that this Christmas film was just one that wasn’t for me. I understand what it was trying to do, but I feel like it just wasn’t executed fully and I didn’t enjoy it that much to be honest. Now I know people have different beliefs over this film, but there are much better Christmas films out there that rank over this one.

So what was this film about? Basically a desperate father, Howard (played by the one and only Arnold Schwarzenegger), spends his Christmas Eve trying to find the hottest selling toy of the Turbo Man doll, in hope that he doesn’t let down his son, like he has so many times before. But it’s not that easy to find the biggest selling toy a day before Christmas (I wonder why?), so the film is spent in an over the top panic and expresses that very urgent Christmas rush. On this panic, he meets a rival for the same toy, Myron (Sinbad), an alike father trying to get his son a present on Christmas Eve. This is supposed to create a comedic rivalry, which in some ways is so ridiculous you kind of just have to laugh, and I’ll admit that there were times when I did laugh. Whereas amongst this crazy day, Howard’s son, Jamie (Jake Lloyd), just wants to spend time with his father, Howard making the mistake again by letting him down by just not being there. Meanwhile, the mother, Liz (Rita Wilson), there to pick up the pieces; and the divorced next door neighbour, Ted (Phil Hartman), keeps making an appearance filling in for Howard, which annoyed me to say the least, but I think he is supposed to.


The film was very dramatic as Howard attached himself to every chance he could to possibly find the Turbo Man doll. The audience is warped into this crazy day when we jump from a Department Store to a kids play area, to Santa’s secret hide out (or whatever it was), to a radio station. It was very confusing and manic. I understand how it was meant to feel due to the fact that the father was in desperate need to find this toy, but I don’t understand how he found himself in those situations, for example a random bizarre fight with a load of Santas. The whole film was quite random. I have to admit however, I did like how the film kept occurring back to the Police Officer (Robert Conrad), it created a continuous comedic element to the film, which was needed.

Sad to say, I don’t think Arnold Schwarzenegger was the best decision for this film. Maybe he should just stick to those action movies he’s so well known for. For me, I don’t think he executed the comedy of the film to the full potential. I understand where the comedy could have been put in and it could have been a potentially funny film with the plot idea, but there was a continuous drag in the film for me, where this desperate need was never going to be filled and just got worse. I also didn’t feel invested into the characters, which is obviously an important part of a film. The film continued to escalate to breaking point, which by this time was very close to the end of the film. Then we were thrown the ending, which to say is unrealistic would be an understatement, but I did like how they tried to throw this ending in to get a good feel for the film when it finally finished.


Overall, I just felt this film tried too hard, that it felt a bit forced at times and over exaggerated. The plot could have been a good one, despite the chaos. Maybe this is more a film for the younger ages as they get wrapped up in the desperate need for the toy as well, I don’t know. I would more advise a Christmas film such as ‘The Grinch’, ‘Elf’ or ‘The Polar Express’, or maybe for older ages ‘Love Actually’; because ‘Jingle All The Way’ has nothing on them.


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