It’s time to look at the sequel that nobody even knows about. The original Jingle All the Way is classic at this point, but the sequel has been overlooked time and time again. At this point, a third film is unlikely to come out anytime soon. It’s definitely not a bad film and I thought that it was entertaining enough, but it certainly is a step down over the last film. You can tell right away that this wasn’t a theater film and the soundtrack isn’t quite as good. You can draw a lot of similarities between this and Home Alone 4, but the ending is much better here.
It is almost Christmas time and Larry wants to give his daughter Noel the best Christmas ever. The problem is that her new Step-Dad please wants to have her over for Christmas. The official system is that she switches between them every year as they alternate days, but the step Dad pulls rank. The compromise is that Larry will have her for the first half and will then bring her back over for the second half. In the week leading up to Christmas, he now has to really show Victor up. He steals her letter to Santa, where Noel asks for a super cool Teddy Bear. Larry knows what he has to do but Victor won’t make it easy.
Once again, it’s one of those cases where the contrast between the two Dads is probably exaggerated a little too much. Larry has let himself go since the marriage fell apart and now he’s super overweight. He’s not very smart and economically he isn’t doing well either. He attempts to impress Noel by connecting his car lights to the Christmas ones, but ends up losing all of his electricity so they can’t bake cookies or even have a proper breakfast. They have to settle for cereal. Larry’s a nice and likable guy, but it’s clear who we are supposed to think will give Noel a better Christmas when it comes to material goods. What works in Larry’s favor is that he has no real responsibilities and can just hang out with Noel all day. They go sledding, ice fishing, and do all kinds of stuff. Larry’s super laid back and relaxed as well with a charismatic personality so it’s easy to see why he’s fun to be around.
One thing that really hurts Larry’s case though is the fact that he’s always taking cheap shots at Victor. You never see Victor insulting Larry, but whenever Larry sees something that he can use against Victor, he takes it. “I bet Victor’s food isn’t this good right Noel?” “I bet Victor’s no fun” and he takes shots at Victor throughout the entire film. Naturally, the writers make sure that Victor jumps over the fence in the last part of the film, but otherwise, it’s hard not to be in his corner right from the start. Also, Larry cheats at games.
Sleigh bells ring…are you listening? Odds are that you’re not if you’re Victor. He’s so rich that he is hosting the town’s Christmas party this year and even buys a 10000 dollar tree. He wants to make Noel’s Christmas great so she can accept him as her new Dad. He pulls out all the stops and I wouldn’t even say that it’s to make Larry look bad. He’s just insecure and is doing everything that he can to give himself better odds. It only gets personal once he finds out that Larry is looking for a bear so he decides to buy all of them in the city. This is the only part where he goes too far as he wrecks many Christmases since everyone wanted the toy and it was a pretty dirty move. He is forced to give them back by the end and the heroes make up. So, the film wants you to go with Larry or to admit to a draw, but I’m going with Victor here. I’m not saying that money wins, but Larry had many chances, but blew them all. Victor wouldn’t have been able to buy all of the toys if Larry hadn’t slept in. Furthermore, they both (Victor’s proxy anyway) ran into a store at the same time when it opened, but Larry was outrun (Of course) and by the time he got to the toy section, they’d all been nabbed. Larry did his best after that, but he got taken into a choke hold and an Elf beat him up after that. It was rough for Larry, but at least he never gave up.
Noel was actually a lot better than Jamie from the first film. She was really understanding the whole time and took everything in stride. It was as if nothing could bring her down and the only thing that mildly upset her was how everyone kept fighting over her. She got everyone in line though and ultimately acted like one of the best kids in recent films. It’s hard to be better than her. Her Mom didn’t really have a role at all, which was surprising. She basically just watched the two Dads fight with an amused expression the whole time.
The film’s humor does occasionally wander into lower depths than the first film. Larry gets so nervous that he does something pretty sad and then makes sure to tell his friend about it. Not only is this not funny, but it doesn’t make sense. At least not for something this mild. The scene where Larry’s looking for trees and an attendant comes out to help him is also poorly handled with cringe worthy dialogue at every corner. That moment couldn’t end fast enough! Once those two moments were out of the way though, the rest of the film is fairly sound.
It certainly flew by fast and the film was just entertaining. While Larry was a little too exaggerated to allow him to be a winner here, his personality was handled well. You can still tell that he’s a nice guy as opposed to being a terrible person who just happens to be a good father. There’s a difference, trust me. His Teddy Bear fight with Victor is good as well although it naturally doesn’t beat the fist fights from the first film. I definitely think that this one held back a little too much in that regard. The action was dialed down quite a lot. Perhaps they thought that it would be bad for the kids to see or something? I get that standards have changed over time, but since the WWE helped with this film, you’d expect some action.
Overall, Jingle All the Way 2 is an admirable sequel. It may not have topped the original film, but it’s a good film in its own right. Some parts of it are fairly cheesy and don’t make sense, but that’s the problem with having this plot amidst a very exaggerated contrast. Victor’s speech about how he envies Larry’s ability to go out and have a lot of fun is just a little unbelievable. It’s a lot easier to buy into Larry’s argument since he literally cannot compete with Victor’s money. It doesn’t help that all of Larry’s attempts to do something special for Noel backfire completely. Taking a peek at her letter was also very underhanded and I like to think that Victor would not have done that although I suppose that’s not a complete guarantee. If you want a hidden star in this film, keep an eye out for Victor’s head of security. He may have thrown Victor off the bus by the end, but he did a really good job of executing the mission right from the get go. I’d recommend checking this film out. It also feels pretty fresh since I had not seen it before and adding new Christmas rosters to the collection is always a blast. No worries, it still makes for a good January film. I’d actually like to see a third film and it’d be even better if it was a crossover. They could have both families fighting over one copy of a new toy. Arnold may be old, but he still has fighting spirit and if they could get Myron back, the duo would be set!