Jingle All the Way – The Christmas Film That is So Bad It’s Good!

The 90s was a much simpler time!

It’s Christmas time again and once again we pick a festive classic movie and give it our own review. This time it’s Arnie’s Jingle All the Way.

Arnold Schwarzenegger who completely defined 80s action movies but also had a stint in a handful of family comedies when he maybe was going through a midlife crisis! This is probably the weakest of those comedies and that takes some doing as this list includes Twins, Junior, Kindergarten Cop and if you want to include it Last Action Hero.

So what is ‘Jingle All the Way’ About?

Released in 1996, Jingle all the Way is a Christmas family comedy film which is directed by Brian Levant. It stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad as two rival fathers, workaholic Howard Langston (Schwarzenegger) and stressed out postal worker Myron Larabee (Sinbad), both desperately trying to purchase a Turbo-Man action figure for their respective sons on a last-minute shopping spree on Christmas Eve. Sadly this is only the first installment in the Jingle All the Way film series, but let’s not mention the sequel!

The film is actually inspired by real-life Christmas sellouts like the Cabbage Patch Dolls and Buzz Lightyear.

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Who’s in it?

Starring alongside Arnie and Sinbad are Rita Wilson, Phil Hartman, Jake Lloyd and James Belushi.

Let’s get going

In the beginning we see  a short episode of Turbo Man which looks even more low-budget than an episode of Power Rangers.

We then cut to Howard (Arnie) at work busy running his Mattress company which he must run in between going to the gym! Liz his wife (Rita) phones him and asks if he’s remembered that it’s his son Jamie’s (Jake Lloyd) Karate class graduation tonight. He races off from work as he’s forgot.

We then cut to Jamie’s graduation where we are introduced to Ted (The late Phil Hartman) the sleazy single father who for some reason all the housewife’s are fawning over!

Howard gets stopped on the way by the police while driving down the hard shoulder of the highway to avoid the traffic. This results in him missing Jamie’s graduation.

Howard arrives when the graduation is over and the school is closed but still manages to walk in to find it empty!

He then gets home and find’s Ted his neighbour putting up the Christmas lights on his house. To be honest I’d be glad if I had a neighbour who I could actually talk to never mind put up my house lights for me.

Howard then tries to make it up to his son who is the most whiniest kid in America by explaining to him that he works hard so they can have a nice house, a nice car and so his mum doesn’t have to work. No, I’m kidding he says I’ll try to be a better dad and Jamie asks for a Turbo Man for Christmas to make up for it!

Liz then asks Howard if he’d purchased the doll she asked him to buy two weeks ago, even though he runs a company and she stays at home all day!

Howard realises he’s forgot to buy the doll so pretends to go to work the next day which is Christmas Eve. Liz tells him “don’t be silly you can’t go to work it’s Christmas Eve” because obviously the people of America don’t go to work on this day!

Howard hits the town and queues up at the local toy shop and this is where he meets Myron (Sinbad) the post guy. Instantly we hate this character as the first thing he does is go into a blind rage about commercialism and then strangles a poor woman in the crowd without consequences!

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Howard and Myron are ridiculed by the store workers and customers as they are searching for a Turbo Man doll on Christmas eve. The store workers then break confidentiality and reveal a woman wearing a fur coat just brought the last one and they could catch her down the road if they were quick!

Myron then pushes Howard into a display of Booster action figures, and they both try but fail to stop the lady who had who brought the last one. Howard then proceeds to try all the other small independent toy shops around town.

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Having no luck Howard phones home and Ted answers their phone as he is round there baking cookies with Liz. Not a euphemism! While he is on the phone he makes really annoying and creepy orgasmic sounds as he is eating the cookies. Somebody punch him!

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Howard then bumps into Myron again and Myron suggests they should team up but Howard doesn’t want to and Myron uses the race card and says it’s because I’m black, when it’s really because he’s a big annoying sociopath douche bag!

Then a man out of no where starts shouting down the street that they have Turbo Man dolls at the mall. You know the giant mall that neither one of them had thought about looking in! Although a wiser man would have kept his mouth shut until he successfully secured the purchase of one!

They both try and race off but Arnie reverses his SUV into the police officers bike who arrested him the night before.

Howard eventually arrives at the mall but they are holding a contest where they throw bouncy balls into the crowd and whoever gets them gets a doll.

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Obviously this results in chaos. Howard manages to catch a ball but is pepper sprayed by Myron who then grabs it but gets tackled when Howard shouts he has two. Myron once again draws on the race card by shouting “Rodney King” when he gets tackled by the other desperate parents.

Howard chases one of the balls which lands in a children’s ball pit where a kid puts it in their mouth (Yes a kid really puts a bouncy ball in their mouth on camera). Howard grabs the kids by the face and tells them to spit it out. He then gets battered by handbags from the the mothers around the play pit and they brand him a pervert. He then just walks off even though all these people thought he was a child molester and could be a real threat to children!

Seeing his plight a Mall Santa (James Belushi) and his elf helper say they can help him and take him to a warehouse on the edge of town. In there is a big bootleg operation where they are making and distributing counterfeit toys. All the workers seem to be dressed as Santa or elves for some reason.

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Howard hands over his money for a Turbo Man doll but when he receives it he finds out it is crappy and it falls to pieces. Howard then demands his money back and tells all of the workers they are cheats and thieves which pissed them all off and starts a mass brawl of Santa’s attacking Howard. Watch out for Big Show and the late Troy Verner as just two of the many Santa’s involved.

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That moment a police raid happens but Howard manages to get out of it by grabbing a toy police badge and pretending he is undercover.

Howard phones home again and Jamie answers and they have an argument about keeping promises. He then bumps into Myron again in a coffee shop and they both enjoy coffees laced with bourbon and reminisce about parenting and past Christmases. Myron tells Howard about not getting a toy he wanted for Christmas screwed his life up. Howard then realises he doesn’t want his son growing up to be a douche bag like Myron.

They then hear a radio broadcast advertising a contest for a Turbo Man, and race to the radio station. Howard then barges into the radio station to get to the DJ and smashes his door down instead of just ringing in. Myron goes one better and pretends one of the parcels he’s carrying is a bomb and he will blow it up unless he gets the doll.

The DJ then reveals that there is no doll but a gift certificate for a doll to use in the new year.

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The police raid the radio station and once again it is the cop that Howard keeps running into. He must be the busiest cop in town!

Howard and Myron get away by threatening the police with another bomb. Once they have escaped the cop grabs the parcel and says it’s not really an explosive and attempts to open it and it blows up. Myron isn’t phased at all that that the parcel bomb was actually a bomb and goes about his way!

Howard heads back home and remembers that Ted said he’d wrapped and left his son’s Turbo Man under the tree. He decides to break in but has second thoughts, He puts the present back but is attacked by a Ted’s reindeer. The house gets wrecked and the house sets on fire. Howard kicks a burning Balthazar head through the window nearly hitting a group of innocent carol singers outside.

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Ted and Liz see Howard and confront him and say they are off to the Christmas parade. Ted completely ignores the fact that his house was wrecked by a mad reindeer, his windows are broken and it almost went up in smoke.

Then the reindeer who straight up looks like the animatronic Rudolph from The Santa Clause charges at him and Howard straight up flaws the deer with a punch to the face. Yes, really!

We then cut to Howard drinking with his recovering reindeer pal.

Meanwhile at the parade Ted tries it on with Liz the only non-single women who lives in the neighbourhood and just happens to be married to Howard who could easily kick his ass.Come to think of it he could kick all of our asses! Liz is having none of it and throws his Eggnog in his face.

Howard once again bumps into the cop who has been pursuing him all day and spills boiling hot coffee on him.

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Howard runs off and hides in a warehouse where he is mistaken for the replacement Turbo Man because all muscle bound guys look the same! Howard is ushered into the Turbo Man outfit without any ID or security checks, bearing in mind he’s working with children.

Howard really enjoys being Turbo Man.

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Howard finally gets his hands on a Turbo Man doll, but must pick a kid from the crowd to give it to. Obviously he picks his son Jamie by actually shouting “Jamie” and nobody at all thinks it is rigged!

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Myron turns up and assaults the guy playing Dementor, ties him up and steels his outfit and then goes crazy and terrorizes Jamie and tries to snatch the doll.

Turbo Man and Dementor fight with actual real firing weapons with the crowds of families in the vicinity.

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Jamie runs off with a crazy Myron chasing him up the side of a f**king tall building and everybody thinks this crazy asshole and Jamie are part of the show.

For some reason the Turbo Man costumes budget covers the cost for a real jet pack and Howard flies around the city out of control and tries to chase after them.

Howard ends up smashing straight through a families apartment. Happy Christmas folks. I wreck your home so my ungrateful brat of a son can have a Turbo Man doll, but don’t mind me!

Jamie is dangling from a Christmas Tree decoration on the top of a building and Myron snatches the doll and falls but lands safely. Jamie then drops from the tall building but is saved by his dad and his jet pack.

Eventually Myron is stopped and he’s finally arrested.

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Then Jamie says he wished his dad could be there because he obviously cant’ tell from Turbo Man’s lower face, thick Austrian accent and that he’s built like a brick shit house that it is his dad!

Howard reveals himself to his family and the mum looks at Howard dressed as Turbo Man and you know she’s got a glint in her eye and ideas for spicing it up in the bedroom department.

The cop that keeps busting Howard unaware that Turbo Man is Howard salutes him and says he could do with a man like you on the police force.Obviously because with a foiled terrorist plot earlier with Myron and the bomb and failing to stop him once again at the parade the cops in this town are so inept they need a superhero to help them! “Charges dropped officer?” “Oh, go on then it is Christmas!”

Jamie gives the doll to Myron to give to his kid even though he tried to kill him, assaulted many people and he’s been causing shit around the city all day.

Howard is probably secretly cussing in his head over and over saying “do you know what st I had to go through today for this fking doll? Jeez Jamie!”

Watch for the scene after the credits where Liza asks Howard what he got her… Oh oh!

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But you know what… You can dis this film all you like but I actually have to admit I like it. It makes me feel nostalgic about growing up as a kid in the 90s. It’s heart is in the right place and it’s a great film to sit and watch with your family.

Don’t ever change Arnold… Don’t ever change!

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Written by Jay

A caffeine-based life form with a love of the 80s and pop culture.

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