DVD Release Date: Tuesday, December 2, 2014
It’s been almost 20 years since Arnold Schwarzenegger butted heads with Sinbad in the original “Jingle All the Way,” as the two dads were both after the year’s hot action figure Turbo Man to five to their children for Christmas. It’s probably been close to 20 years since I’ve seen the film, but I think it’s safe to say that the idea behind “Jingle All the Way 2” was to simply remake the first one with different actors and slap a “2” on the end of a recognizable title to help boost sales.
This time around the film is headlined by Larry the Cable Guy, who somehow manages to still get work in film after the disastrous trio of “Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector,” “Delta Farce,” and “Witless Protection” between 2006 and 2008. He stars as the creatively named Larry, who’s just a regular guy that manages to get by without really working that much. He spends a lot of time hanging out with his best friend Claude (played by WWE superstar Santino Marella), and the rest of his time with his daughter Noel (Kennedi Clements).
Larry shares custody of Noel with his ex-wife Trish (Kristen Robek), who has recently remarried the exceptionally wealthy Victor (Brian Stepanek). There is no conflict between Larry and Trish whatsoever, who appear to have the model post-divorce relationship. “Jingle 2” instead positions the conflict between Larry and Victor, both of whom vie for Noel’s affections, an understandable scenario if nothing else.
With Christmas fast approaching, both Victor and Larry want to give Noel a memorable Christmas, which is certainly a noble pursuit. Noel is young enough to believe in Santa Clause still, and writes him a letter that she won’t show to anyone. Against his better judgment, Larry reads the letter and is convinced that she wants the seasons’ hot new toy, a talking bear named Harrison. Victor gets wind of this as well, and it becomes a race between them to get the coveted toy for Noel. Of course Victor has more means, and selfishly starts hoarding all of the bears so that Larry cannot procure one.
As setups for a family film designed to teach the true meaning of Christmas go, this one is not entirely bad. The problem is that it’s simply not funny. At least I can say for Larry the Cable Guy that he mostly leaves behind the gross-out humor in favor of more slapstick gags as he and Claude track down the Harrison Bear, but they still just aren’t particularly creative or humorous. Larry the Cable Guy just doesn’t have an engaging screen presence, and Marella does what he can with what he is given but he’s just not given that much.
Of course everything gets wrapped up in a nice tidy little package by the end, and everyone is happy and knows the true meaning of Christmas. “Jingle All the Way 2” is harmless, well-intentioned fluff but it hardly constitutes required viewing, even during the holiday season.