Christmas, as we all know, is on the way! After what some may consider another difficult year, the holiday season is here to boost happiness and will hopefully create festive cheer. A big part of Christmas is the films, and there are plenty to choose from...
Jingle All The Way, from 1996, is a holiday staple and a film many of us will watch every year. It stars Arnold Schwarzenegger in the lead role and, in his first comedy movie, nails the humorous and somewhat desperate character.
Schwarzenegger plays Howard Langston, a workaholic who doesn’t appear to have a lot of time to spare for his wife Liz (Rita Wilson), or his young son, Jamie (Jake Lloyd), which causes a rift between the three of them.
However, after missing a few events at Jamie’s school and upsetting both his son and partner, Howard realises he forgot to do the most important thing in the lead up to Christmas: buy his son a Turbo Man action figure.
So, after lying to his wife by saying he already bought the toy, Howard spends the entire movie searching for it. However, there’s one big problem: Myron (Sinbad) wants Turbo Man for his kid, and will not let Howard beat him to it.
Jingle All The Way is Christmas comedy done right. A father who’s desperate to right some pretty huge wrongs leads to some hilarious scenarios, and the Christmas atmosphere is both enjoyable and chaotic at the same time, in the best of ways.
Howard goes all out to find the toy his son wants, and a lot of the comedy comes from the fact that he kind of deserves the stress he goes through as he simply should have done what he was meant to do weeks ago...
Schwarzenegger was at the time of filming of course best-known for his action roles, such as Predator (1987) and The Terminator (1984); however, Jingle All The Way showed that he can do more than shoot a gun and look tough.
This movie sees Schwarzenegger tackle a brand-new role and absolutely nail it. Perhaps it’s his large frame or iconic accent, but this role was perfect for him despite many thinking otherwise.
His character is frantic, panicked, and it’s downright comedy gold, as he tries literally everything to make sure his son forgives him.
This festive film is also brilliant because the plot is so simple, but Howard’s journey to find a Turbo Man toy is absolute chaos. He comes across Myron, another dad who wants the doll for his kid, at almost every turn, and somehow ends up in a factory with a whole load of angry Santas...
Jingle All The Way not only cast Schwarzenegger perfectly, but also created a wonderful, Christmassy atmosphere and a sense of family, despite the anger Liz has towards Howard at times and his son’s melancholy at his father missing out on school events.
We see Howard, despite his workaholic personality, battle it out in some ridiculous situations simply to make his son happy. The lead up to Christmas makes it all the more enjoyable, and simply sets out to create some brilliant comedy, and it does just that.
Howard’s neighbour, Ted (Phil Hartman), also causes some issues for our main character. Ted is the type of person to do everything perfectly, including celebrate Christmas with Howard’s family.
While Howard is hopelessly trying to find a Turbo Man, Ted is in his home eating Howard’s wife’s cookies. He’s a character designed to be disliked, as he has a rather irritating humbleness about him which really winds Howard up.
Ted is the sort of person that does everything perfectly, perhaps with a great deal of effort, but pretends as though everything was done within minutes; this causes not only Howard to look at him with genuine hatred, which creates a comedic rivalry in which we side with Howard.
This festive film also, while being a great family flick, shows just how busy and beloved Christmastime is. The scene where Howard goes to the mall to try to win a Turbo Man shows that this time of year is an extremely busy and at times, stressful one.
Parents cluster together in an attempt to win the action figure, just as Howard and rival father Sinbad do, and it becomes total disarray, which is both hilarious and somewhat realistic.
Despite Howard doing some rather questionable things within the movie to get his son’s toy, and his workaholic nature, he is a brilliant main character that really lets this movie shine.
There is a plethora of holiday movies to watch at this time of year, but Jingle All The Way invites you to laugh ‘all the way’ through, to enjoy Schwarzenegger’s brilliant and perfectly hilarious performance, as well as the well-paced and wholesome narrative.
The movie forgoes many emotional scenes in favour of slapstick comedy, which can be a breath of fresh air from other festive films with more heartfelt sentiment.
Jingle All The Way is the perfect movie for a family night in. Schwarzenegger is brilliant, the plot is simple yet manic, it is impossible not to laugh at Howard’s attempt to get his son his perfect Christmas gift, or the scene in which he comes face-to-face with an angry reindeer.
Watch the trailer for Jingle All The Way below:
Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal