THE PLOT THUS FAR
It’s Christmas Eve, and Arnold needs to find a Turbo Man action figure,the craze of the season. Only they’re sold-out, of course. So the raceis on, and Arnold does fierce battle with other shoppers and merchantsalike, all for the prize toy with which to purchase his son’s affections. His chief rival and nemesis is Sinbad, a mailman who’salways going–you guessed it–postal. (Must have looked good on paper.)All of which is unwittingly very sad, on the content level. But thefilm supposes itself to be amiable enough, on its own shabby terms,even when it climbs out of the screen and starts gnawing at your furniture. If the humor were to get broader it would make HDTV obsolete. The tone can only be termed good-naturedly mean-spirited.Goofy carnival music runs continuously in the background so we neverforget that what we’re seeing is, er, um, funny. All the action iscomposed of comic violence, like an unhip Warner Bros. cartoon. Do thefilmmakers actually consider this cynical foray to be indicative of the Christmas spirit? Apparently so, because the resolution has Arnoldwinning quite inadvertently, and offers no clear alternative to thecompetitive commercialism that drives the film’s attempts at humor. Ina key scene that’s meant to be touching, Arnold and Sinbad sit down fora heart-to-heart in which we learn that receiving much-wanted Christmas presents in our formative years is responsible for our success in adulthood. You get that Turbo Man, you’ll be a billionaire; don’t getit, you’ll be a loser. Such is the formidable challenge of parenthood,to cater to the child’s whims while it can still make a difference.This is what’s wrong with this country.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Howard Langston, a workaholic father who’s failing with his family. He is constantly breaking promises and missing family events simply by being absent-minded and overly concerned with his business. When he shows up far too late for his son Jamie’s Karate presentation, he realizes he’s got some major sucking up to do. Howard immediately offers to get his son anything he wants for Christmas as a quick fix. But, little does Howard know that the toy Jamie wants, the official Turbo Man action figure, is the hottest toy of the season! No stores in town have one, and tomorrow is Christmas Eve!!!
Howard gets an early start in the morning, arriving at a toy store that hasn’t opened yet and already has a large crowd outside. Here, he meets his biggest competition, an unstable mailman named Myron (Sinbad). Myron is also an inexperienced shopper whose son has asked for a Turbo Man figure. Both men are shocked and angered when everyone in the store mocks them upon hearing what they are looking for, and this is where their heated rivalry begins. Howard and Myron bump into each other at location after location in their search for the evasive toy and continue to physically abuse each other at nearly every encounter, and every bit of it is quite hilarious! In addition to dealing with Myron’s attacks while searching for Turbo Man, Howard has to keep tabs on his intrusive neighbor, Tim (Phil Hartman), who is continuously making plays for Howard’s wife, Liz (Rita Wilson). It’s not as confusing as it sounds, but it’s a lot for a man to have to worry about on Christmas Eve when he’s gotta meet his family at a parade later on that same day.
“Jingle All the Way” is a great Christmas adventure that is full of laughs and mayhem! It’s not supposed to be “It’s A Wonderful Life,” it’s just supposed to be funny! And it is, if you have any sort of sense of humor at all and any experience with last-minute shopping during the Holiday Season! Arnold Schwarzenegger is still not a great actor, but he plays the role of a helpless, inexperienced shopper rather well, and this is probably my favorite of all his movies that I’ve seen. Sinbad is great as nutty mailman Myron, and Phil Hartman steals the movie as Tim, the seemingly perfect single dad that all the neighborhood women want, but who mainly has eyes for Liz. And, upon repeated viewings, Jake Lloyd (who plays Arnold’s son) isn’t as annoying as everyone says. “Jingle All the Way” may not be as magical as “Miracle On 34th Street,” but it still qualifies as an annual MUST WATCH Christmas movie for this viewer, and probably many others!
The Blu-Ray has amazing A/V Quality for a comedy. It’s not quite reference quality, but the sheer amount of special features will keep you busy for hours. The problem with that is the A/V boost to 1080 is the selling point. Everything else is almost a straight port from the most recent DVD. Take that for what you will, but I’d recommend the upgrade.