Jingle All The Way
Review By: Gringo

Picking on this movie is like an able-bodied guy running in the Special Olympics 100 metre dash - it's an easy target. But pick on it I must because quite simply it is one of the most pointless exercises in movie making I've seen in a long time.

Here are the plus points: it features Governor Arnold (henceforth referred to as Ahnold) Schwarzenegger playing the unlikely all-American father role of Howard Langston. That is all.

The plot revolves around Ahnold - who apparently owns a textile business of some sort - trying to find an elusive Turbo Man doll for his young son Jamie. Along the way he fights a crazed postman (played by Sinbad) to get one of the dolls. There's also a brief encounter with a crooked Santa. It's not funny, which is pretty much my feeling of the whole movie.

Seems this Turbo Man figure is the best thing in the world ever, and that parents are the worst scum imaginable if they fail to get one for their children. Ahnold is mean to be a stressed-out workaholic who never has time to watch his son's karate matches (um?), Christmas Eve parades or any other irritating activities. Yet somehow Ahnold manages to find the time to learn basic English and work out his muscles to abnormal status? Hooray for believability!

Sinbad is also trying to get a Turbo Man for his son - although in the same movie he is portrayed as a psychotic alcoholic, which makes you wonder about how sane his child is. The two engage in 'hilarious' encounters as they fight for the last Turbo Man doll in the city. The ethos of this movie seems to be that you can lie, cheat and steal so long as you give in to rampant consumerism. Remember that Christmas isn't about the birth of some guy with long hair who ended up getting nailed to a cross. No! It's about GREED.

Here are brief summaries of what Ahnold ends up doing in his quest for the Turbo Man doll:

• Chasing a young girl through a mall
• Running over a policeman's motorcycle
• Vandalising the offices of a radio station
• Giving police a parcel bomb
• Breaking into a neighbour's house
• Stealing the neighbour's Christmas presents
• Punching a reindeer in the face

Although Ahnold does show some sense and after stealing a Turbo Man meant for his neighbour's son, he says: "What am I doing? Stealing from a kid? I can't do dis". Admittedly, he says it to a reindeer, so the effect is somewhat diluted, but never mind. And yes, it's the same reindeer he punched in the teeth.

The finale of the movie is some Christmas parade, where Ahnold hopes to finally prove to his son that he has learnt the true meaning of mass marketing. Somehow he ends up playing Turbo Man at said parade. As part of the show he has to pick a kid to win a limited edition Turbo Man doll. Sure enough, he picks his own son. Which goes to show that not only is soulless commercialism a great thing, but so is nepotism.

Sinbad rears his ugly fat head again by dressing up as Turbo Man's arch-enemy, Dementor. Yes, Dementor. They fight unconvincingly but Ahnold and his son end up with the doll. Sinbad is led away to be jailed - but then Jamie hands over the doll in the spirit of festive giving. What the hell?

Anyway, this movie is detestable. It's as simple as that. At one point, on an amusingly angry phone call to his son, Ahnold shouts: "I've had it up to here with dis Turbo Man!" I'm betting that's how 98 per cent of the cinema audience felt at the premiere. One of the two per cent who enjoyed the movie would have been children too young to know better. The other per cent would have been 50-year-old men wondering how they could into those kids' pants.

However, despite everything written above, there is one funny scene. In some mall, a toyshop owner is giving away coloured balls with numbers on them. Whoever gets the lucky ball wins the right to buy one of a limited stock of Turbo Man figures. Cue another unfunny fight scene as Arnold, Sinbad and a bunch of losers fight over the balls. At one point, Sinbad gets pushed to the floor and several white people jump on top of him. He gasps "Rodney King! Rodney King!" as the breath gets pounded out of him. I thought that line was funny because, as we all know, black guys getting beating by a gang of white folk always leads to hilarity.

So, if you're ever in Blockbuster or any other kind of movie rental place and you see Jingle All The Way on the shelves, you know what to do. Follow Ahnold's advice and, as he says at one point: "Put dis thing away! Dis is not worth it!"

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