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Movie Review

Jingle All the Way

Reviewed by: Marcus Mann

Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens and Adults
90 min.
Year of Release:

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Phil Hartman, Sinbad, Rita Wilson, James Belushi, Robert Conrad. Director: Brian Levant

Most of us have experienced the negative side-effects of shopping for Christmas gifts. From the parking-lot to the cash register, gift giving can become dangerously competitive. If the thought of shopping for the perfect present brings on a cold sweat, then you will be able to empathize with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s latest movie, “Jingle All The Way”.

Schwarzenegger plays a workaholic father (Howard Langston) who can’t find time for his family. The Christmas season seems to be his best chance to redeem himself, so he promises to buy his son the popular “Turbo Man” action figure. Little does he realize how difficult a task this will be. Finding one of these action figures brings out the worst in everyone, thus establishing a “take no prisoners,” “search and destroy” mentality in holiday shopping. Along the way, Howard meets his strongest competitor, Myron Larabee (played by Sinbad), a stressed-out postal worker who is every bit as determined as Howard to find Turbo Man.

This popular film has been advertised as a Christmas movie for the entire family, but it is not. Although there are some humorous parts, it is littered with obscenities, alcohol consumption, and sexual innuendo. One particularly disturbing aspect of the plot concerns the part played by Phil Hartman (Ted Maltit), the divorced neighbor who tries to seduce all of the married wives in their community. This aspect of the movie was not essential to the plot and produced much of the inappropriate material.

Probably the most disturbing aspect, however, is that the film does little to try to combat the commercial nature of Christmas, never alluding to the importance of Christ (or even love) for a meaningful holiday.

Don’t waste your time or money on this film. If you would like to see a great Christmas movie for the entire family, purchase one of the episodes from the popular VEGGIE TALES video series—“The Toy that Saved Christmas”.

Viewer Comments
“Jingle all the Way” is hardly a movie for the entire family. Arnold plays a workaholic who tries to buy his son’s love with a toy. This movie doesn’t insult the commercialization of Christmas. In fact, it encourages it. At the end, Arnold gets his son a Turbo Man, and they love each other. But the director’s didn’t mention that Arnold’s son didn’t love him; he just liked the toy. You can’t by a child’s love by giving him material things. You need time for that.
I agree with what most people said above. I wanted to stress the very poor portrayal of fathers. Arnold’s character has it in his head that it is okay to lie to your wife (yes, I got the TurboMan but left it at the office) and that buying “things” for the family can make up for missed events. How far from the Truth can you get! I won’t mention the neighbor, Ted, who set a bad fatherly example also. Keep pointing people to God so that they can read the Bible and learn how to be a Godly father.
—Tim Emmerich, age 29
I saw this the day it came out (November 22nd). It deserves about an 8 out of 10. Most of the jokes were given away in the commercials and the “Christ” part of Christmas was never really explored(even “Home Alone” covered THAT turf). In March, I tuned into the show “Muppets Tonight!” (now cancelled). It was loaded with sexual innuendo after sexual innuendo, the story about them putting on the show was so lame and went nowhere. However, I do reccomend the 1992 “Muppet Christmas Carol” as well as “Miracle on 34th St.” and (yes) “Ernest Saves Christmas” as great rentals that explore the morals of Christmas better.
—Michael Christopher, age 15
My family went to go see this movie for free because my sister worked at that theater. We started to watch it, but we left after only the first ten minutes. I believe that was about the time that three men dressed as Santa clause came out and attacked Arnold Swartzenager with nun-chucks. Hardly a “movie for the entire family.”
—Tamara Day, age 14
I was disturbed to hear a good friend of mine telling me about how much she was looking forward to seeing this film. The previews alone ought to be enough to turn off anybody, *especially* a Christian. Why would we want to go support a film that glorifies the commercialization of Christmas? I’m certainly not against going to films, and my husband and I often rent videos for the weekend. However, I just cannot see how we can buy into the message that Christmas is only about getting a certain gift for someone, and that if you don’t get that gift for them, why, they won’t love you anymore. That’s most certainly not what we need to be teaching our children, and not even what we need to be subjecting ourselves to. I’m not going to belittle anyone for seeing it, since I do think Arnold is constantly getting to be a better actor, but I hope that some will think twice before giving their money to this.
—Kim Eames, age 26
It is a funny movie. The story is very simple yet it touches the heart. I really think Arnold was very funny (and cute) in this film. He showed that even men with muscles can be tender at heart.
—Richelle, age 23
This movie was alright, but I think that Arnold should stick to action/adventure flicks… Hasta La Vista Baby!
—Lori, age 35