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YMMV / Jingle All the Way

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The film series:

    Jingle All the Way 
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Even though Arnold was the focus, just imagine the whole movie on Sinbad's POV? Then you have the movie about a down-on-his-luck father trying to buy a Turbo-Man doll as his way to atone for not being a good father to his son. It would not only make the movie more interesting but put it into Black Comedy territory.
  • Ass Pull:
    • Myron mugging the Dementor actor to take his place in the parade. There's no way Myron could have made it to the roof, attacked the actor, and then gotten his costume off and put it on himself, in the few minutes that Howard was up on the float. The only way it works is if one assumes Myron was planning to take the actor's place anyway and was going about it before he realized Howard was on the float as Turbo-Man, but that raises even more questions.
    • The Turbo-Man costume in the parade just so happening to have a fully functional jetpack (something not even NASA can perfect), which Howard uses to turn the tides in the climax.
  • Awesome Music:
    • The heroic Turbo-Man theme is actually pretty cool when played live during the parade.
    • Shame an album of David Newman's score wasn't released until years later.
  • Critical Research Failure: Karate Grading. During the Karate session, the boys are promoted from Yellow Belt to Purple Belt, which doesn't happen in Karate gradings of any style. In Goju Ryu, Karate Orange comes after yellow. In Shotokan, Karate Green comes after Yellow (and before purple). Students do graduate from yellow to purple belt in Tae Kwon Do, but since the movie explicitly states that it's a karate promotion, it's still incorrect.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: The fake bomb package Myron tricked the cops with actually exploding? Kinda funny. Myron pausing to look back, horrified it was actually a bomb, and cursing "this is a sick world we're living in!" Hilarious!
  • Cult Classic: The movie's a pretty dumb Christmas flick but is so off the wall and full of Narm Charm that many fans couldn't help but love it because of how goofy it was, firmly cementing it into this trope.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: A common complaint about this film is the fact that almost the entire cast consists of assholes; with few characters to actually sympathize with, certain parts of the film can be more frustrating to watch than anything.
  • Director Displacement: Chris Columbus was a producer, yet Brian Levant directed.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: What's to stop Howard from getting arrested? Especially from Ted, who has enough evidence to convict him for breaking into his own house and stealing his son's present. That aside, though, Howard quite clearly committed identity fraud getting into the parade, physically assaulted the other crew members, and endangered the public with his untrained use of the jetpack.
    • A minor one for Myron. Okay, he can give his kid the Turbo-Man doll. Hurrah. The downside is that he might face prison time and will still be considered an absentee father. Oops.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Oh so much.
    • The film is all about Howard and Myron going through hell to get to a popular toy for their sons. The film does not provide any meaningful commentary or insight on the materialism of Christmas, the craze of shopping mobs doing anything to get their hands on high-demand toys, that Howard and Myron only want to get their sons the toy to make up for being neglectful fathers the rest of the time, or that Jamie shifts between hating and loving Howard on a dime depending on if he thinks he's getting the toy or not. All of this is played totally straight — Howard getting Jamie a Turbo-Man action figure is the only way to prove his love to his son and repair their damaged relationship, and if he can't get it, then Jamie will hate him forever.
      • Myron specifically attributes his neighbor getting a high-profile toy as a child to him growing up to be a success, while Myron didn't get the toy and became a mailman paying child support to his cheating ex-wife. Howard then envisions Myron as Jamie toasting him and taking a swig from his flask. Remember, parents — if you don't get your kids the hottest holiday toy for Christmas, they'll grow up to be deadbeat drunk losers.
      • That's also not getting into all the stuff Howard and Myron do to try and get their hands on a Turbo-Man, including attacking other shoppers, chasing down children for a raffle ball, physically intimidating store workers, and Howard stoops to going to a black market toy ring to find one. And then to get out of being arrested when the police bust the joint, he grabs a toy badge and impersonates a police officer, an extremely serious crime! But criminal behavior is worth it to get the Turbo-Man and make Jamie happy, right?
    • Johnny talks to Jamie about how Ted became a lot more active as a father after he and Johnny's mother got divorced. Johnny then suggests that maybe Jamie's parents should get divorced, so Howard can be a better father! This at least seems to be intentional, as Jamie just stares at Johnny for a moment and then walks away without saying a word. Still, as far as we see Ted is a better father to Johnny than Howard is to Jamie, as well as being beloved by the neighborhood, so the film doesn't exactly do much to show that Johnny is wrong.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Store employees getting trampled by impatient customers, which occurs early in the film. It may have been funny at one time (due to being over-the-top), but people in real life have actually been killed from being trampled, so it's not as funny anymore.
  • Ham and Cheese: Arnold, Sinbad, James Belushi and Phil Hartman all know that the film’s message isn’t very serious and they all waste no time giving everybody a tasty and over the top ham sandwich.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Howard almost giving the future Darth Vader the "I Am Your Father" speech.
    • Arnold's character, Howard, is a workaholic Bumbling Dad. While this is inherently funny enough given's Arnold, it becomes even funnier if you saw Terminator: Dark Fate where he also plays a father and husband. A Terminator posing as one, specifically.
  • Idiot Plot: The entire film happens because Howard forgot to buy Jamie the doll months ago like Liz told him to, and Liz never confirmed he got it or thought to bring it up to him again until shortly before Christmas. Then the climax happens because Howard is mistaken for a parade performer and is suited up in the Turbo-man costume and shoved onto the float in a matter of minutes. The film includes a Hand Wave that the guy who was supposed to be in the costume was injured during rehearsal and they had to get a replacement at the last minute, but surely they would have at least gotten his name and confirmed Howard was him, instead of grabbing the first person who walks through the doors and clearly has no idea where he is or what's going on.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Myron. Despite his flaws, the audience can't help but feel kinda sorry for him, as it is implied that he lives a relatively crappy life—he works long hours to no reward or recognition, has no family, his wife cheated on him repeatedly and took custody of his son during their divorce, money is tight as a significant chunk of his income is sent to the aforementioned cheating wife for child support, and he seems to be generally treated unfairly by everybody in his life. So despite being an antagonistic character in the film, the viewer can't help but understand and empathize with his cynical attitude and animosity for the holidays, even though he can be a bit annoying for the way he jabbers too much about rhetoric.
    • The Motorcycle Cop also is on account of always falling victim to Howard and Myron.
    • Ted's son Johnny counts as one, since he's Innocently Insensitive and his father is spoiling him just to hit on other women.
  • Love to Hate: Ted. Yes he is a sex crazed creep and egomaniac masquerading as a doting and loyal father but Phil Hartman’s very charismatic performance makes up for a lot of his shady behavior.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Put dat cookie daughn! NAUGHH!" Thank Swede Mason for the mix.
    • Less memetically, "It's turbo time!"
  • Narm:
    • Most of Jamie's lines, due to Jake Lloyd's wooden acting.
    • Also, Howard's wife gets a very narmy scene. The line itself is simply "Damn you, Howard," but it really cannot be stated how terrible the delivery is.
    • Rita Wilson clearly shoving her head down after asking Howard if he actually has the toy, so the camera can zoom over her.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Martin Mull as the hapless radio DJ who gets assaulted by both Howard and Myron.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • So Bad, It's Good: Don't take it too seriously, and you just might enjoy this one.
  • Special Effects Failure: Howard flying around in the Turboman costume reeks of mid-90s digital compositing.
    • The guard reindeer that attacks Howard is a blatant animatronic in the closeup shots.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Myron's critical views on the Christmas season and the points he makes on how the marketing divisions of toy companies stir up these major "crazes" for a new toy during the Christmas season for their own profit are rather valid.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: What could have been a biting social commentary about the ridiculousness of holiday toy searches, or at least just a plain funny family film, gets executed horribly.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Jaime acts like a Spoiled Brat to Howard at every turn, rebuffs his attempts to make amends, and only shows love for him when Howard plays to his materialism and promises him the Turbo-Man doll. This is not helped by Jake Lloyd's awful acting and the clichéd When You Coming Home, Dad? trope being in full effect.
    • Howard's wife Liz isn't exactly super-likable either. She spends much of the film acting just as nasty towards Howard as Jamie does and is pretty much this close to leaving him for Ted. Jamie later feels guilty about snapping at Howard over the phone after the climax, while Liz discovers that Ted's a scumbag and realizes that Howard means well.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Myron. The man is an incredible asshole not adverse to faking having a bomb to get the Turbo-Man doll (an even bigger no-no nowadays) and chasing after a kid to steal the doll from him (which gets him arrested), but his life has been complete hell and considering we are following another man willing to go through all kinds of (equally borderline and actually illegal) mayhem to make his son happy...
  • The Woobie: Howard goes through absolute hell to get his son the toy he wants for Christmas, a plight every parent can sympathize with. When he finally gets the doll during the parade and picks it up in awe, then holds it up in triumph and cheers, you want to cheer with him.

    Jingle All the Way 2 
  • Sequelitis: Pretty much got this distinction no sooner than the day it was announced. The fact that it starred Larry the Cable Guy, already infamous for making a DTV sequel to the The Tooth Fairy, didn't help matters.


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