Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Jingle All the Way

Jingle All the Way; Comedy, USA, 1996; D: Brian Levant, S: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sinbad, Jake Lloyd, Rita Wilson, Phil Hartman, Robert Conrad, James Belushi

Howard is so busy with his job, he comes too late to attend his son Jamie's karate match. In order to make it up for him, he plans to buy him a Turbo Man action figure for Christmas. But he forgot that his wife Liz told him to buy it two weeks ago. Now, on Christmas eve, he runs from one store to another to find the toy, but it's always sold out in advance. During his search, he constantly bumps into mailman Myron who also wants the toy for his kid. Howard finally masks himself as a live action Turbo Man during a parade and gives Jamie the toy, but he gives it to Myron figuring his "own dad is Turbo Man".

Solid Christmas family comedy "Jingle All the Way" also presented the action star Arnold Schwarzenegger in a refreshing comic role, this time as a dad in the middle of a real war just to buy one toy for Christmas which is a rather neat fun with dynamic settings, but as a whole the movie is a lame comedy with only some 5-6 really good gags, mostly those cynical ones mocking shopping frenzy to the absurd, but those inspirational moments last for only a couple of seconds before the whole thing returns back to the mediocre waters. One of the best gags is set right at the first appearance of comedian Sinbad playing mailman Myron, when he and Howard are standing in a long queue, just when he goes on to give a hilarious rant about how "the toy cartels are exploiting parents by putting psycho garbage into the kid's minds", which gives the story a sharp spark of self-irony, or the over-the-top sequence where Howard is fighting against hundred of con-men disguised as Santa Claus. Still, during the course of the film, instead of turning into a satire about consumer society, the story actually gets sucked into the triviality and senselessness revolving around the toy, until regardless to the harmless tone and interpretation it becomes more a materialistic gimmick and less a spiritual family film.


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