I’ve seen this film many times over the years, but that was before my reviewing days. I finally got a chance to rewatch it the other day and the film holds up well. It’s a fun Christmas film that you can certainly watch time and time again without the story getting stale or losing its charm and for me it’s probably the most iconic Christmas film thanks to how many times its been viewed in my household.
The film follows Howard, a rather successful business man. His problem is that he tends to forget about everything else once he’s at work and this leads to him not getting his son Jamie a gift for Christmas. He can’t afford to lose this opportunity though since tensions are already high since he missed Jamie’s karate promotion. Howard goes on the hunt for the Turbo Man toy that Jamie wants, but he will have to contend with Myron. Myron is a cynical delivery man who wants to get the toy for his son at all costs and he’s not above using cheap tactics to get it. Criminal organizations and mean spirited police officers also stand in Howard’s way, but he has the determination to keep on going. He is on the clock though since his corrupt neighbor Ted is trying to pull the moves on his wife while he’s gone. Run fast Howard!
From the start of the movie you can tell that it’s going to be a fun adventure. The clip from the Turbo Man show was pretty fun and a nice homage to the Power Rangers. Howard may have forgotten about Jamie’s event, but at least he was working while the rest of his staff was having fun at the party. Howard’s a hard working guy…things just don’t always work out very well for him. He does make it up to Jamie pretty quickly. His next mistake was maybe a little worse as he had weeks to get the toy, but forgot until the very last night. I can definitely see why it would be hard to find a toy by then, just look at the Nintendo Wii from a few years back. It was incredibly difficult to get that toy and it seemed like every store was out of stock. I pulled through of course.
The main part of the film that makes for good entertainment are the battles between Howard and Myron. First off, I have to acknowledge that Myron is the best character in the film. I’ve always had a knack for attracting people like him in real life so I’m pretty familiar with the type. He could talk about anything for days and it’ll always be complaints. One of these characters once called me a casual as a result and I just let it pass through me. I’m only a casual when it comes to my Godzilla knowledge and even then I’m mainly just a casual to get people to let down their guards. Myron is a charismatic character from the start with his speech about how toys are made to be cheap on purpose nowadays and how it’s all a conspiracy. I’m always eager to hear about conspiracies and this guy was full of them. Things escalated quite a lot from there as Myron and Howard would bodyslam each other and get into a lot of chaos.
Howard typically took the high road or at least the less painful one. Myron slammed him into CDs, blasted him with pepper spray, threatened Howard with a gun, threatened Howard’s son, etc. Howard hit him with a toy car, got a mob to tackle Myron, and slammed a door in his hand. You can easily tell who the more unhinged one is here. Myron is always ready for a truce when he’s losing though and Howard was all too ready to except the quick shot of Miller Time. It wasn’t enough to quench his thirst though.
While not quite as great as Myron, Howard’s still a good main character as well. Once he infiltrates the villain organization, he definitely gets into the fight. He’s also a quick thinker and manages to get out in one piece. His only failing is taking a shot at the reindeer. That was pretty uncalled for and he should have just run for the hills. I didn’t really mind him deciding to get even with Ted. Breaking into the house would help teach Ted a lesson before knocking him out with the toy. It doesn’t really help that Liz refused to listen to him at all during the scene though. Howard sure does drink a lot though. He went through quite a few bottles before coming back to his senses. He may not be perfect, but he can certainly hold his own film.
Ted is the worst character in the film and that’s probably intentional. He is always flirting with Liz even though she’s married. Liz probably should have gotten Howard to step in a little sooner, but at least she ultimately gave him a stern rejection. There’s not really anything good to say about Ted and his polite facade never gets all that convincing. I wasn’t a big fan of Liz either though. It felt like she was upset for about 90% of the film. If anything, Howard seemed to have a better Christmas than her even though he was the one who kept getting attacked by just about everyone. Jamie was a little worse though. I always feel like the little kids are pretty unreasonable and he is no exception. While he can’t really guess how much effort Howard is putting into the search, he isn’t making things any easier by going on tantrums. He just needs to accept the fact that Howard can’t usually keep his promises and it’ll help him learn to expect the unexpected.
There was a Cop who got a fairly large role in the film. He came across as a jerk the whole time though so it’s hard to sympathize with him when a bomb blows up in his face and his motorcycle is destroyed by Howard. The guy was basically asking for it, but I guess you can’t say that he’s not determined. The guy certainly went all out. There aren’t really any other big characters as the cast is relatively small. The rest of the people who show up are typically just people trying to make life hard for Howard. The little kid, the store owners, they all believe that this is some kind of fun joke.
Jingle All The Way has a nice soundtrack, which helps the film out overall. You’ll get to hear a nice array of classic Christmas themes as the film goes along. It’s definitely good to have and I’m always on board for that. While there are no real fight scenes to test the effects, the climax of the film plays out a bit like a real Turbo Man clip with Howard getting to take down Myron once and for all. That was a fun way to end the film and you’ll just feel bad for the actor who got knocked out by Myron. The poor guy never even saw it coming.
Overall, It’s easy to see why Jingle All The Way is such a solid film. It has rapid pacing and the writing is on point. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and embraces the battles between the two leads the whole time. The only weak part of the film is the Ted plot as it seriously did not need to be here. Liz also handled the whole thing as badly as you can imagine. She shouldn’t have let him even help set up the lights, much less be in a position to put up the Star while Howard was watching. It added the extra drama, but I don’t think the film would have changed much if he wasn’t around. Well, I definitely recommend this film. You may have missed out on the chance to see it for Christmas, but it’s a fun enough film to watch anytime. Also, it is snowing today so now might be a good chance to check it out right?