Film Scouts Reviews

"Jingle All the Way"

by Leslie Rigoulot

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November 18, 1996

Is there a parent who has not searched high, low, and in between for that one gift on the kid's Christmas wish list that is just not to be found? I've opened cartons in stores looking for G.I. Joes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Wolverine from the X-Men. Remember the frenzy over Cabbage Patch dolls? Every parent will be able to identify with Arnold Schwarzenegger as he searches for this year's Mighty Morphin' Power Ranger, Turbo Man, on Christmas eve. Every overworked parent can identify with wanting to be perfect but falling short. Since Chris ("Home Alone") Columbus produces the film with Brian ( "Beethoven") Levant as the director, you can count on a hilarious take on a Nineties dilemma. Schwarzenegger is hurriedly finishing up business and trying to make his son's karate awards ceremony when he encounters Robert Conrad as traffic cop and running gag (Officer Hummell). Arnold also has to contend with his male Martha Stewart neighbor, portrayed by Phil Hartman, who ingratiates himself to Arnold's lovely screen wife, Rita Wilson. Let's face it, we all have neighbors who bake elaborate cookies, put up excessive lights and put the rest of us to shame. But Hartman is small-time compared to the aggravation of mailman Sinbad. In the race to find Turbo Man, the hottest toy of the season, only one man is willing to outdo the Terminator, the Commando, the Eraser. It isn't just a race to the finish but to prove who loves their kid more. And who wouldn't want the love of the adorable Jake Lloyd. A veteran of TV's "ER", the seven-year-old made his feature film debut in Nick Cassavetes "Unhook the Stars" and we'll be seeing more from this natural.

"Jingle All The Way" should be seen at a shopping mall for full effect, but it is certainly a Christmas movie you won't want to miss. And in case you are wondering, director Levant took the Turbo Man doll for himself. Smiles Levant, "Everything we're creating for this movie goes to me - and if my kids want to play with them, they can come to the office." Lucky guy. Rated PG (Twentieth Century Fox).

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