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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

The Big Night Approaches

Jingle All the Way on IMDb
Merry Christmas

Plot Overview

As its title implies “Jingle” is audio-oriented in this visual medium. The holiday music mixed with pop is swell. We open inside a TV series featuring a rocket-powered action figure Turbo Man (Daniel Riordan) battling his nemesis Dementor (Richard Moll.) Turbo's gizmos are sounded out by little Jamie (Jake Lloyd) at home in front of his TV screen as a well-spoken Turbo rescues another little boy Billy (Justin Chapman) to return him to his father the President (Harvey Korman) and mother the First Lady (Laraine Newman.) The president speaks in a flat midwestern voice as American as apple pie: no New England airs, or Texas drawl, or for that matter east African emphases.

office party

cop writing ticketmanning
the phoneJaimie's dad, mattress sales­man Howard Langston (Arnold Schwarzen­egger) is working the phone with his sonorous voice, having skipped out on the office party. His desperate attempt to make it to Jamie's karate exhibition that night is cut short by a police siren, so he doesn't get to see and hear his son bust the wee boards. His son here in Minnesota speaks with the same flat mid­western accent as the president having none of his dad's Austrian inflections, so we figure his dad is not around enough to talk to him for any length of time, other­wise he'd imitate him a bit. It's a similar dynamic to that in an Andrew Taylor historical novel in which a British clerk had to absent him­self from his wife and five-year-old daughter for a time to take up a position in the American colonies during the revolution in 1778:

there was no help for it. If I were to make a new home for the three of us and provide Augusta and Lizzie with the necessities of life and even a few luxuries, I must remain in New York for the time being. …

‘I hope your staying longer will not grieve Mrs Savill and your daughter, sir,’ she said. ‘Your daughter is called Elizabeth, is she not?’

‘Yes, ma'am.’ I was touched that she had remembered the name. ‘It will certainly grieve me not to see her.’

‘And yet you stay?’

‘Bella, Bella,’ the Judge said. ‘A man must go where he is ordered. You know that as a soldier's wife.’

‘Yes, sir,’ she said. ‘Of course I know it. But a child cannot under­stand the bitterness of parting in the way a wife can.’

Mr Wintour patted her hand. ‘You are too tender-hearted, my dear.’

‘Five years old is very young.’

‘It cannot be helped,’ I said. ‘Though I wish with all my heart that it could.’ (76–7)


gift boughtthe postmanIn an effort to make it up to Jamie for missing yet another exhibition, Howard is determined to get him the much-in-demand action figure doll he wants for Christmas. Alas, he has left it too late. The shops are sold out, and the clerks bust their sides laughing at him for even thinking about it. He meets mail­man Myron Larabee (Sinbad) who's in the same fix. Myron sounds like he comes straight from the ghetto (“I went to junior college for a semester”) and embodies the worst of his black race. The parallel in the Taylor novel reads:

‘Of course they do not have feelings as we do.’

‘Who do not?’

‘Negros. They are made of coarser clay. Indeed, many of them are little better than beasts of the field. Most negros have no more idea of true religion or morality than the man in the moon.’

‘I cannot believe that to be true, madam,’ I said. ‘Their situation may be inferior to ours, their education neglected, but one cannot blame them for that. Indeed, if we blame any­one, surely we must blame our­selves for their shortcomings.’

She threw back her head and laughed with such spontaneous merriment that I found myself smiling in sympathy. ‘Oh, you would not say that if you knew them as I do, sir.’

‘But I have encountered many negros in London, freed men, who—’

‘I do not mean all negros, of course,’ she interrupted, ‘or all slaves for that matter — for example, I except those like Josiah and Miriam and Abraham — they have lived so long among us as almost to be like us, as far as God permits them to be and allowing for the differences between our station in life and theirs.’ (71–2)

Howard and Myron become desperate competitors in the quest for the elusive last action doll in town, but while the chase brings out the heroic in Howard, Myron goes postal. To be sure, however, we do observe along the way a black family saying grace at the table (“Let us pray,”) and the Holiday Winter­tain­ment Parade announcers Liza & Gale sound so white one could not tell with­out seeing them that one is black.


At least Jamie's mom Liz (Rita Wilson) was there to witness him receiving his purple belt. It would have also done his dad proud to observe him mastering a discipline. (Prov. 23:24-25) “The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.”

(Prov. 23:26-28) “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways. For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit. She also lieth in wait as for a prey, and increaseth the trans­gressors among men.” Howard's neighbor Ted Maltin (Phil Hartman) bills him­self as a “very eligible bachelor” since he got his divorce, and he's available to help the lonely house­wives (“I've got just the tool you need”) in their requests for handyman assistance.

reindeer(Prov. 23:29-32) “Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds with­out cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.” Howard encounters Myron in Mickey's Diner who has poured some Old Home­stead Kentucky Whiskey from a flask into his coffee, and he offers some to Howard. (Prov. 23:33-35) “Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.” Howard later adds some generous dollops of beer to an addled reindeer's bowl whom Ted plans to set free in a park near a family of deer, hoping they will accept him.

seeing Santa4 elves

(Prov. 24:1-2) “Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them. For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.” Howard gets coopted by a mall santa (Jim Belushi) who takes him to a clandestine factory entered after a guard counts a series of secret knocks, where they manufacture toy rip-offs at night. There for a price Howard can get a multi­lingual action doll—kids will be speaking Spanish with these around. Howard tells them, “You guys are nothing but a bunch of sleazy conmen in red suits. … You heard me right. Conmen. Thieves. Degenerates. Low-lifes. Thugs. Criminals!” That provokes a fight with a Santa of inflated size (Paul ‘The Giant’ Wight.)

3 wise
men(Prov. 24:3-4) “Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” Howard built a ram­shackle club­house for Jamie a few years back (“We even had Christmas dinner in it.”) And their house is filled with all the modern conveniences.

(Prov. 24:5-6) “A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength. For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.” Howard gets a lot of advice along the way, where he can find the elusive toy and where it's not worth the bother to look.

(Prov. 24:7) “Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate.” His steps are dogged by a persistent cop Officer Hummel (Robert Conrad) who loses some of his authority (“I was with the bomb squad for 10 years”) when he misjudges the contents of a suspicious package.

Production Values

” (1996) was directed by Brian Levant. It was written by Randy Korn­field. It stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rita Wilson, Jake Lloyd, and Sinbad. The acting in this patently silly movie is forgivable for a film viewed during the Christmas season; there was no way to rescue it.

MPAA rated it PG for action violence, mild language and some thematic elements. The main difference between the theatrical and extended versions is that the post credit scene in the former is moved to the end of the movie proper in the latter. Since that was the funniest moment in the whole picture, I guess it was good to move it to where a jaded audience wouldn't have to wait for it. The film's audio was a work of art. Its awe­some ending is worth enduring the pedestrian buildup.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

I found it touching at the end despite its silly content throughout. Kids will like it and adults can endure it. Ho, Ho, Ho.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action-packed fun. Suitability for children: Suitable for children with guidance. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Good for Family Groups. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Three stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Taylor, Andrew. The Scent of Death. Copyright © Andrew Taylor 2013. London: Harper­CollinsPublishers. Print.