Jingle All The Way (1996)

Well well well….I thought I’d start off Throwback Thursday with a seasonal children’s classic, Jingle All The Way.

Now this was a bog standard feature that appeared on TV without fail during the lead up to Christmas. To a child, what is there not to like: Comical mischief, Christmas, “Awesome” special affects *cough* (for 96′ obviously!) and over acting overload. PJ’s on, snacks in arms reach, pupils dilated to the wonder that is anything Christmas.

It’s all about a workaholic Father, Howard Langston (Arnie) desperately trying to make it up to his son Jamie (Jake Lloyd) for the many different times he’s missed things he had promised to be there for and put work first. Tut Tut, Dad. How dare you! So how is he going to make it up to him…with a Turbo-man Doll of course! OK, OK , working parents with understand his plight, trying to do the right thing, be there for everything special they do as well as pay the bills and sometimes somethings gotta give.

The insanity that ensues over this doll resurrects every parents nightmare. Think of it like a Black Friday sales situation. The sheer fact is that back then it REALLY was a cut-throat time of year for Christmas purchases, especially for toys. (My Mum reminisced to me that she once had to wait in line for a some nifty thing it was dying for, for hours!) We forget that now technology allows us to plan ahead with the miraculous creation of online shopping and pre-ordering AS WELL AS delivery directly to your house with gift wrapping included.

No, seriously, how did we cope without this stuff?!

For this reason these scenes are spent shaking your head at the character at his idiocy of forgetting the one thing he promised not to forget about, after forgetting to go to  something special.

Waiting in the line at a shop in the hope to find this elusive action figure he meets another desperate dad, mail man Myron (Sinbad) and the bitter competition between them is pure slapstick moments combined with this added trait that dad’s are useless. Obviously not true, but these dad’s make odd choices. For instance the use of a parcel bomb…something that you definitely wouldn’t encounter in a children’d film now for obvious reasons. Cringe worthy watching now, not really needed. Also the sleazy “wife-snatcher”  neighbour, Ted (Phil Hartman) isn’t really helping by adding to the negative dad stereotypes: Ted is divorced and spends most of his time flirting with other mums, Myron has his own daddy issues, and Howard should learn not to lie and keep his promises! That’s my prognosis.

If you’re watching this with children, there maybe some questions to answer, but the comedy factor makes it watchable for adults, just for entertainment purposes and a little giggle. It acts as a gateway film to entering the Christmas spirit even if its mostly driven by commercial selling.

With that in mind I’m going to Reeltime Rate this “Cheddar Gorge” as the layers of comedy for children (and mostly for adults too) are good, but the story is lacking. The Christmas theme helps, Arnie’s acting did encourage smiles, but the cheese is too pure in this one.

Cheddar Gorge



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