Directed by Brian Levant, the film revolves around the story of a father’s desperate attempts to bring his son the toy of his dreams. There's only one problem, it’s sold out in every store in town.
Last Updated: 01.34 PM, Dec 23, 2021
When you think of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Christmas movies and comedies are not the first things that would come to mind. But even though the bodybuilder-turned-actor is most well known for his action roles, Schwarzenegger has tried his hand at comedy as well. And it is a good thing that he did, for if not the world would not have gotten the fun ride that is Jingle All the Way.
The 1996 holiday film tells the story of Howard Langston, a workaholic with little to no time to spare for his family, particularly his young son Jamie. After putting Jamie through a series of disappointments, Howard decides to make it up to him with the boy’s dream toy, a Turbo-Man action figure. But Howard experiences a snag in his plans. He waits until the last minute to buy the toy, which inevitably gets all sold out by Christmas Eve.
Now arguably, there have been better holiday family comedies. And true, Jingle All the Way failed to make an impact with critics as well. But the holidays are all about second chances. And given below is a case for why this quirky comedy should be given a place in your Christmas watchlist.
The wholesome premise
What's sweeter than a father doing all that he can just so he can put a smile on his son’s face? And Harold goes to some of the most bizarre and even dangerous lengths to get Jamie a Turbo-Man, trying to make up for all the times he couldn't be there for his son. And the pain that he feels when he realises that his actions lead him to the brink of losing his loved one’s affections too offers some valuable lessons. So in a way, Jingle All the Way is at its core a film about family and the importance of nurturing and appreciating our loved ones, no matter the season.
The commentary on capitalism and consumerism?
On the face of it, Jingle All the Way does not seem to be a film that offers anything in the form of hard-hitting social commentary. But on closer inspection, one can easily pick out satirical elements in the story that poke fun at consumerism and commercialisation of the holiday season, something that is widely rampant in the capitalistic economy of America. The scenes where shoppers go to any lengths to get their hands on ‘the hottest toy of the season’, even having no qualms to trample people who come in their way, and Howard engaging in illegal activities for the sake of a toy, blurs the line between fiction and reality.
Seeing the rare comedic side of Schwarzenegger
Jingle All the Way is not Schwarzenegger’s first comedic outing for sure, but the funny side of the star is not something that has been explored very often. And this film definitely tries to push his funny bone to the limit. Not only does the star have his share of witticisms and comebacks, but he also puts his acting prowess to use in the physical comedic sequences. So if you want to see Schwarzenegger fight off goons and holiday gloom, then look no further than Jingle All the Way.
The outrageous and over the top elements
To say that Jingle All the Way has its fair share of over-the-top and off-beat elements would be an understatement. A warehouse full of criminal Santas selling counterfeit toys; an adult man whose past trauma is his parents not getting him the toy of his choice; Howard’s rivalry(and subsequent friendship) with a reindeer; a bomb; a high-speed climactic chase complete with superhero suits and a jet pack; some of the elements in the film are so bizarre that it may make viewers think that they're in a holiday-themed fever dream
The even more wholesome ending
If all the above reasons have you convinced to see the film, you should skip this part if you want to dive into it without spoilers. The ending of the film is definitely the cherry on top of the wholesome holiday film. Jamie gets his hands on his dream toy after all the shenanigans Howard went through and he makes the ultimate sacrifice a nine-year-old can make. He decides to give the toy away to another man, who like Howard had gone through hell and back to get the toy for his son. And on the question of why, Jamie gives the most touching answer of all - he didn't need a toy superhero when he had a real-life superhero in his dad.
Jingle All the Way is available for streaming on Disney+Hotstar.