Jingle All The Way – Successful workaholic, Howard Langston, rarely puts his wife, Liz, and son, Jamie, before his job and, when he misses an important event of Jamie’s life, he promises to get him his favourite toy for Christmas to make up for it. Lying to his family about buying it and then completely forgetting, he suddenly realises that he has to buy it or Jamie will never forgive him. Unfortunately, this realisation comes on Christmas Eve and, as the toy is incredibly popular and seemingly sold out everywhere, Howard must stop at nothing to get the toy and win his son’s trust back.
Jingle All The Way (1996) – Director: Brian Levant
Running Length: 99 mins
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sinbad, Phil Hartman
‘JINGLE ALL THE WAY’ REVIEW
Inspired by real-life Christmas sell-out toys, Jingle All the Way looks at the typical trope of a workaholic father who takes his family for granted until it’s almost too late to be forgiven. Action star Arnold Schwarzenegger is no stranger to comedy roles having previously been is films like ‘Twins’ and ‘Kindergarten Cop’, however this was his first major role in a movie aimed directly at kids.
In typically predictable style, Arnie gets into all manner of scrapes as Howard, a man so self-absorbed that his family barely register on his radar. When he doesn’t attend his nine-year-old son, Jamie’s important karate class, he has to work extra hard to be forgiven. Promising material gifts rather than the more difficult ‘love’ that seems to elude him, his selfishness seems to know no bounds because he neglects to pick up the readily available toy that Jamie is desperate for, instead lying to both Jamie and his wife, Liz, telling them he’s got the toy to get them off his back. Hence, ‘Jingle All the Way’ is about Howard’s struggle to do what he promised to do months before but didn’t and the challenges he faces (all his own doing) creating a delightful Christmas romp for kids to enjoy.
In a story that has been seen time and time again, especially at Christmas, ‘Jingle All the Way’ does little to stand out from the crowd but it is light-hearted, funny and entertaining enough to be enjoyed during the festive season it is unlikely to remain a favourite from one year to the next.
IS ‘JINGLE ALL THE WAY’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?
A man rants about how unfair he feels his life has become, he speaks of his ex-wife, shouting ‘a woman who slept with everyone at the Post Office but me’, he then grabs a woman (who is a stranger to him) by the throat while continuing to yell. The woman is visibly shocked by this but is not hurt and the situation quickly calms down once the man realises what he is doing.
Throughout the movie, a man continuously flirts with a married woman. She isn’t interested in him but he is unable to take the hint. At one point, he is at her house when he husband calls, the man answers the phone and says ‘I think she’s in the shower, do you want me to go check?’ which angers the husband who yells ‘No!’ down the phone.
A man follows a little girl around a play area because she has picked something up that he needs. He eventually catches up to her and grabs her face because she has put it in her mouth. He is then hit with a handbag by the girl’s mother who calls him a ‘pervert’.
Howard finds himself among some Santas who are involved in illegal contraband. One of them smokes a large cigar and, once Howard realises what is going on and upsets them, they become slightly menacing – surrounding him and attempt to fight him although he is able to hold his own. This is done for laughs so is unlikely to upset kids but they may be confused by the not-so-friendly Santas.
When surrounded by police officers, a man holds a Christmas present and tells them its a bomb. Although several of the cops are unsure and back away, one takes the present (not believing its an explosive) and begins to rip the paper off. The scene then cuts to characters outside the building and a huge explosion is seen. The camera cuts back to the cops who are all fine but a little dazed and dishevelled.
CAN I SEE A CLIP?
VERDICT – IS ‘JINGLE ALL THE WAY’ FOR KIDS?
‘Jingle All The Way’ doesn’t break any new ground and is somewhat dated but it is light-hearted, fun and festive so kids are bound to enjoy it and with a relatively short running length it is entertaining enough. We feel that this movie is appropriate for kids aged five and over.
- Violence: 1/5 (a few mild punch ups and some slapstick comedy)
- Emotional Distress: 1/5 (nine-year-old Jamie is often upset and disappointed by his father’s inability to put him before his work)
- Sexual Content: 1/5
- Bad Language: 1/5 (some infrequent mild cursing and blasphemy)
- Dialogue: 0/5
- Other Notes: Deals with themes of family, absent parents, divorce, promises, desperation, going to extreme lengths for your family, selfishness and forgiveness.
Words by Laura Record