JINGLE ALL THE WAY Saturday 19 November, 2011

A christmas comedy starring Arnie. What could be better?

A christmas comedy without Arnie would probably be significantly better. Jingle All The Way tells the story of a workaholic father who forgets to buy his son’s gift, a generic toy-craze doll (Turbo Man), until it’s too late and every shop has sold out.

Pretty crass, huh? Maybe it is a scenario that the parents among you will be familiar with but to celebrate this sort of frenzied consumerism seems a bit grim to me. It’s almost the polar (geddit? hohoho) opposite of a film like It’s a wonderful life. I guess they couldn’t have called it Jingle All The Way – It’s a Terrible Life though.

Arnie makes a rival of a postman, played by an adult man who actually asks people to call him Sinbad (????!!!!). I have no idea who Sinbad is but I can tell you he is decidedly rubbish. He is not funny and not a very good actor. At times I wondered if he was only there because he is comparable in size to Arnie.

The winsome child who deserves all of the effort is played by the baby Annakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) and at times he seems like he is mouthing other actors lines to keep up.

The acting is generally pretty standard but Phil Hartman’s slimy neighbour and James Belushi’s crooked Santa add a touch of much needed class. Also, look out for 30Rock’s Dr. Spaceman in the toy store.

So what is it with Arnie and comedy? As I was watching this film I started pondering why Arnie is such a strange human. When he tries to convey any kind of normal human qualities in this film it just makes him seem very very strange. His Karate impression is startlingly funny but I’m not sure why he felt the need to squint so much during it.

It must have seemed like a really good idea on paper but this kind of film lives or dies by the performances of the actors. Unfortunately the only good actors on show here are in parts so small that they couldn’t make a difference. I wonder what it would have been like if it had better actors and slightly better writing. Without those things it does just stand as an homage to toys being a substitute for a loving parent. Nice.

The laughs fall flat and the only time I found myself laughing was when I probably shouldn’t have been (setting fire to his neighbours house and the jet pack).

This is definitely one to avoid. The fact that I sat through it so that you won’t have to is my christmas present to you. Now don’t say I never do anything for you.


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