'Jingle All the Way (Family Fun Edition)'
(Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sinbad, et al / DVD / PG / (1996) 2007 / 20th Century Fox)
Overview: Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in this hilarious comedy as a father desperate to buy that must-have present during a frantic Christmas Eve shopping spree. Howard Langston (Schwarzenegger) has promised his young son a Turbo Man action figure for Christmas, unaware it's the season's hottest-selling toy. And so begins a frenzied quest that pits Howard against a stressed-out mailman (Sinbad), a sleazy Santa impersonator (James Belushi) and every other harried parent in town, in "the best holiday family film in years."
DVD Verdict: Yes, "Jingle All the Way" is chock full of bad acting and ridiculous situations, but hey, it's a Holiday comedy, and a darn good one! And, for those of us who are really into Christmas shopping and have been on that search for the elusive "must have toy of the year," it really touches a nerve!
Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Howard Langston, a workaholic father who's failing with his family. He is constantly breaking promises and missing family events simply by being absent-minded and overly concerned with his business. When he shows up far too late for his son Jamie's Karate presentation, he realizes he's got some major sucking up to do. Howard immediately offers to get his son anything he wants for Christmas as a quick fix. But, little does Howard know that the toy Jamie wants, the official Turbo Man action figure, is the hottest toy of the season! No stores in town have one, and tomorrow is Christmas Eve!!!
Howard gets an early start in the morning, arriving at a toy store that hasn't opened yet and already has a large crowd outside. Here, he meets his biggest competition, an unstable mailman named Myron (Sinbad). Myron is also an inexperienced shopper whose son has asked for a Turbo Man figure. Both men are shocked and angered when everyone in the store mocks them upon hearing what they are looking for, and this is where their heated rivalry begins. Howard and Myron bump into each other at location after location in their search for the evasive toy and continue to physically abuse each other at nearly every encounter, and every bit of it is quite hilarious! In addition to dealing with Myron's attacks while searching for Turbo Man, Howard has to keep tabs on his intrusive neighbor, Tim (Phil Hartman), who is continuously making plays for Howard's wife, Liz (Rita Wilson). It's not as confusing as it sounds, but it's a lot for a man to have to worry about on Christmas Eve when he's gotta meet his family at a parade later on that same day.
"Jingle All the Way" is a great Christmas adventure that is full of laughs and mayhem! It's not supposed to be "It's A Wonderful Life," it's just supposed to be funny! And, it is if you have any sort of sense of humor at all and any experience with last minute shopping during the Holiday Season! Arnold Schwarzenegger is still not a great actor, but he plays the role of a helpless, inexperienced shopper rather well, and this is probably my favorite of all his movies that I've seen. Sinbad is great as nutty mailman Myron, and the late Phil Hartman steals the movie as Tim, the seemingly perfect single dad that all the neighborhood women want, but who only has eyes for Liz.
And, upon repeated viewings, Jake Lloyd (who plays Arnold's son) isn't as annoying as everyone says. "Jingle All the Way" may not be as magical as "Miracle On 34th Steet," but it still qualifies as an annual MUST WATCH Christmas movie for this viewer, and probably many others! Heck, I've already seen it twice this year, and it's still a month or more till Thanksgiving!
Also know, as I'm sure you are aware anyway from the title, that this is the extended cut specially supervised by director Brian Levant. This runs at 94 minutes verus 89 minutes for the theatrical cut. This edition features the following additions:
Instead of Howard going right after the woman in the car, he first sees another woman (Yeardley Smith) with a matching fur coat. He sees a TurboMan package in her bag and offers her money. She takes it and walks away. He takes it out and discovers that it is TurboMan's sidekick, Booster. He then runs after the woman in the car.
In the following scene of Howard traveling to different toy stores looking for TurboMan, the 'Jingle all the Way' song is replaced by "The Christmas Song".
A scene inside Howard's GMC when they're driving to Santa's warehouse where it shows Howard saying his "We've yet to see a sign of that supposed Turbo Man doll" sentence. The mall Santa doesn't sing his "Little Boy Who Santa Claus Forgot" song in the car.
Additional dialogue in the warehouse, as well as the Mall Santa and all the other Santas singing a chorus of "Little Boy Who Santa Claus Forgot".
The rock version of "Jingle all the way" plays as Howard fights the warehouse Santas
An extra scene of Myron Larabee describing the Johnny 7 O.M.A gun to Howard.
Additional dialogue between Howard and the cops at the warehouse.
A scene with Howard riding home in a tow truck after his car had been stripped where he's rehearsing how he was going to explain what happened to him to his wife.
An alternate ending: instead of the ending at the parade, the film fades back to Howard's house. He turns on the lights on his tree and everybody is happy. Liz says "It was so nice that you went to all that to get him that present.... so what did you get me?" It ends with a closeup of Howard looking horrified. This scene originally played following the credits (theatrical and home video versions).
Personally I prefer this edition because I am a sucker for Director's Cuts ... plus I do like this movie a lot. This Extended Cut is presented in it's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, a fullscreen version is not offered on this disc. If you like this movie and have the previous edition I would recommend upgrading, if you're new to this movie then this is the edition to get. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Extended Director's Cut with Footage Not Shown In Theaters!
Two Set-Top Games: Christmas Rush and Guess The Gift
The Making of a Hero, Super Kids and Turbo Man Behind the Mask Featurette