6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Jingle All the Way 2 Review

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!

Overall 6/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Jingle All the Way Review

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?

Overall 7/10