Schwarzenegger Month: Jingle All the Way

I was not sure I would be able to get through this movie even before I began watching it. I try to wipe my mind of all preconceptions before viewing a movie, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out this is a squishy family movie. I do not like family flicks, and I’m not that much of a fan of Christmas movies, either. But, I like Schwarzenegger movies. What to do?

There is nothing all that unique about Jingle All the Way. From 1996, Arnold plays a workaholic father who waits until Christmas Eve to try and track down a toy for his son (Jake Lloyd). But, this particular toy, a Turbo Man action figure, is the most popular toy in the country at the moment, and every store in town is sold out. Thus begins an adventure where Arnold is running around Minnesota doing everything he can to locate one of the elusive toys. A local mailman (Sinbad) is also out and about looking for the toy, and he becomes Arnold’s rival. Phil Hartman is in this thing, too, playing Arnold’s slimy neighbor, Ted. Ted is really the only bright light in this movie. He’s the anti-Ned Flanders. He’s every bit as much into the suburban mystique as Flanders, what with all the gaudy Christmas sweaters and decorations, but his true aim is banging all the neighbor’s wives. This is a family movie, fit for kids, but Hartman’s character delivers jokes meant for mom and dad. So maybe this film isn’t squishy all the time.

Still, this movie was a massive pain to sit through. The season is all wrong, the movie’s intentions, while innocent, are devoid of telling any sort of challenging story, and Arnold is a bit out of his depth. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie where I wanted Arnold to Jingle All the Wayslaughter people so much as this, but the worst he does is get in a tussle with some crooked mall Santas. He punches a reindeer, too. That wasn’t very satisfying.

A movie like this makes me feel like I’ve seen too many films. It makes me feel like there aren’t any surprises left. There certainly weren’t any surprises here. This movie was spawned from the same entertainment-industrial complex that causes teenagers to rebel. All those purple-haired youths polluting our streets were fed too much of this garbage when they were younger and now they smoke pot. Jingle All the Way is a gateway drug.

Consider this, then, a public service announcement. If you, dear reader, do not want your child to grow into a sullen teenager, hanging out in basements lit by a single red bulb doing bong rips, then keep them away from stuff like this.

There’s good news for me, though. This is the last comedy starring Arnold Schwarzenegger I have to sit through. Twins, Kindergarten Cop, Junior, and now this. Never again, Arnold. Never again. Of course, the next film up is Joel Schumacher’s wretched Batman & Robin...

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