Movie Review: Jingle All the Way (1996)


I know there’s been a lack of christmas movies on my blog this december, but I really haven’t prioritized them at all. I also couldn’t think of any I wanted to review… except for one. And the only reason I wanted to do that was because of one man, and that man is Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Jingle All the Way”.

Howard Langston (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a man who rarely gets to spend time with his family which is a huge disappointment for his son (Jake Lloyd). So to make it up to him, Howard has promised his son that he will get him the one thing he wants most out of everything in the world… a “Turbo Man” action figure. As you may suspect, this is the hottest toy on the market and it’s basically sold out everywhere and Howard has to find a way to get one before christmas day strikes. And from that we get slapstick, stupidity and even a little bit of clever satire. Don’t get me wrong, the plot of this movie is all over the place but there were times in the movie where I felt that there was a bit of smart commentary on people as consumers, especially around the holidays. But that was brief and we get more stupid shit. So I am very split when it comes to the plot about the movie. I guess I could appreciate it a bit more if there was a clear and good moral to the story, but since there is none I can’t have that level appreciation for the plot of the movie.

The characters are all selfish bastards and somehow I don’t completely hate them. I guess that it’s because they got a certain level of charm to them. Arnold is just as entertaining as he usually is, giving some funny/terrible one-liners and “classic” quotes. And I’m not gonna lie, his performance even though it was silly, wasn’t half bad. Jake Lloyd as his son, while not giving a “good” performance, wasn’t god-awful and actually kind of worked. I mean, he wasn’t “Phantom Menace” bad. Sinbad as the man is called plays a mailman who Arnold runs into throughout the movie and he was pretty good in his role I guess. Phil Hartman (R.I.P) plays Arnold’s slimy, goody-two-shoes neighbor and he was good in his role. And Rita Wilson as Arnold’s wife was good too. Most actors did a good job in the movie I suppose, it’s hard to say when it’s such a weird movie.

The original score for “Jingle All the Way” was composed by David Newman and it wasn’t bad. It’s your typcial holiday/slapstick style and it works for the movie. I mean, it is pretty well composed. Then we have a good mix of licensed christmas songs as well in the movie and they all worked where they were used. There is a good mix of different artists in the soundtrack which makes for a good soundtrack.

The movie was directed by Brian Levant and looking at his imdb page makes me scared. As far as my eye can see, there is not good movie in his list at all. But I shouldn’t focus on those other atrocities, I should focus on “Jingle All the Way”. This movie is not poorly directed, but I feel like the style is so simple and standard that I don’t feel any originality or personal style to make it all stand out in any way. What I am trying to say is that the movie is visually forgettable.
Sorry, Arnold… but this is an honest review.

This movie hasn’t been that well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 17% (ouch) positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t even exist. Roger Ebert gave the movie 2,5/4 stars. And on it has a score of 5,4/10.

“Jingle All the Way” is a bit of a mixed bag. It has a stupid plot that is all over the place, but the characters are pretty fun and the soundtrack is great. However the directing is pretty meh. Time for my final score. PUT DAT COOKIE DOOOWN! My final score for “Jingle All the Way” is a 6,74/10. I think it’s worth a rental.
Rent it

“Jingle All the Way” is now reviewed.

I’m sorry about that, Arnold. But even though the movie was meh, I still love you.

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