Monday, January 26, 2015

Review: Jingle All the Way 2 (2014)

Once upon a time, way back in 1996 the world was given a film that would live in infamy. A Christmas film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Phil Hartman. Jake Lloyd, and Sinbad came together. It was a concept that seemed so crazy that I am still to this day shocked it actually happened. The man that played Dutch Schaefer and Conan the Barbarian playing a desperate father trying to get his son a popular toy that is sold out everywhere...how did that happen? It's still such a strange oddity of a concept to see him in a kid's film. But it happened and people either loved it for how crazy it truly was or hated it because they felt it was a waste of their action hero idol.

I guess they all slept through a certain 1994 film that he starred in.
In the aftermath of that, the film has this almost legendary reputation which has made it a staple of many people's Christmas festivities. It even led to a certain truly wonderful bit of surrealism over on a site with much better writing. But, who could ever guess that they'd actually do what was teased at by actually making a sequel? Or that said sequel wouldn't have anything that the original had in it? But, much like the strange concept of the original film itself, it did indeed happen. And if you're wondering how it got here...it stars Larry the Cable Guy. Ehhhhhh...this is going to be a long sit.

If you didn't think Sinbad was funny, then you're probably going to drink some bleach after watching this.

The movie opens on the WWE Studios logo, which honestly just makes me hope that Hornswoggle will show up to murder Larry at some point, but I know better than to get my hopes up considering what a disappointment the last film I watched from them was. They can't all be Oculus or See No Evil, after all. And because this is a movie starring a comedian who has built his career around mocking those with low income, we open up to a mobile home in the woods. That just makes me hope the Sawyer clan are lurking about somewhere. What I'm saying is this movie would be a lot better if it involved a bad comedian being mutilated. But no, it's about a divorced father who doesn't have much money and is trying to keep from losing his daughter to her new stepfather. While that has the potential to be a moving and touching story, I must remind you that this movie stars the guy who made "GET 'ER DONE!" a catchphrase. We see him and his daughter waking up, which is actually a fairly nice scene. It's followed up by them ice fishing and him jamming food in his face, because he's fat and that's hilarious. Ha. Ha. HA.

Fat jokes....how original....
Since this movie is just abounds with creativity, it shouldn't be too shocking to learn that the stepfather is filthy rich. Oh yeah, and Larry's character? He's named Larry. I have seen two films starring Larry the Cable Guy and he was named Larry in both of them, which leads me to believe he is incapable of memorizing any name outside of his own. So yeah, the stepfather and him are both basically competing for the affection of the girl, which is dumb and selfish. But that's our movie, so at least it's honest about being dumb right out of the gate. We also see why this movie has the WWE logo attached, as Larry's best friend is played by Santino Marella. This just hazards the question of why the roles weren't reversed, as the original film was all about a big musclebound guy finding a toy for his kid while a comedian attempted to be funny throughout. Instead the roles are reversed somewhat, as now the musclebound guy is his sidekick and he's rather dumb.

"You know, I used to be a champion in the ring. I held multiple titles. I could break you in half."

Larry peeks in his daughter's letter to Santa, learning that she really wants a talking bear doll that learns the kid's name. Victor, the stepfather, manages to learn this too and decides to send his chief of security around to buy up all of the bears so Larry can't have any. This comedy really doesn't seem all that funny...I mean, in the original it was funny because it was Arnold Schwarzenegger going through hell to get a toy, going to such extremes that it was beyond nonsensical. This movie though...it just seems very mean spirited. It's not due to the popularity of the toy but instead he can't find it because the rich stepfather bought them all up. This means that no one is able to get the toy for their kids too, which is especially dickish. Victor is a douche. Even by rich people standards this is bad. I think this would make Carlton Banks so upset that not even Tom Jones could cure his Christmas blues.

"Sorry, Carlton. You're just going to have to find another toy. Maybe a Turbo Man?"
Larry proceeds to go all over the place, hunting for any bear he can possibly find, but he has no luck. And every time it seems like he might get a toy, it goes badly for him. He enters a mechanical reindeer riding contest, but learns the prize isn't the toy but is instead a trip. He manages to get a bear from a toy drive, but is tricked into giving it to a shitty little kid, which ultimately results in him being chased by religious idiots. He even goes with Santino to a shady warehouse where he's willing to drop $500 to buy a bear doll from the guy who he met earlier working in a store, but a police raid results in him keeping his money and having no doll.

Which is just a pale imitation of a better scene in the original film. Larry didn't even fight a vicious gang of Santas.
Pretty soon though the news catches wind of the fact that a guy is going around buying up all the bear dolls and hoarding them, for some reason. This causes Larry to actually use his brain and figure out that Victor has been buying them all up. He manages to sneak into his offices where he confronts him as he's with his beard hoard, basically telling him what a douche he is for doing all of this. The door handle breaks (of course) and they end up locked in and begin fighting one another with the bear dolls. It's not as stupid as it sounds...it's a lot more stupid. Finally, they stop fighting and begin talking. Victor tells him how jealous he is of how good a father Larry is. He's just a stepdad. Larry spells out that it's not about them though, but rather than it's about the daughter. They begin starting to get along and working on a way to get out of the building. The master plan basically involves driving a forklift through the wall. They decide to spend Christmas together as a family rather than spending it apart, but things aren't quite perfect just yet.

"Wait, you mean there's more to this complex narrative?"
You see, Victor's company does a big tree lighting in town and his security guy is down there. While Larry and Victor were beating one another senseless with bears, the news lady from all throughout the film confronted the security guy and got him to admit he bought up all the toys, which resulted in the crowd getting unruly and him admitting that he was ordered to do it by his rich boss. Then they stone him with candy canes. So the wife phones him to tell him what's going on and Larry comes up with an idea to bail him out. What could it be? Gee, I wonder...could it be that he should give away all the bears to the angry crowd and pretend that was the plan all along? Yep, that's it. Because I totally didn't didn't see that and it wasn't obvious at all. So they give out the dolls, the people are all happy, and the security chief doesn't get crucified to the angry Christmas gods. No one is as happy about this as he is.

Besides, Arnold still handled crucifixion better.

We see them the next day celebrating Christmas together and the daughter opens her presents, but seems rather unenthused about the bear doll under the tree. The two dads end up admitting to having the letter to Santa, which is how they knew what she wanted. But she tells them that what she wrote in the letter wasn't about the bear but was that she wanted her family together as one. Her sloppy writing just made it hard to read, thus creating this whole contrived mess. They all have a laugh, Larry ruins the turkey, and they decide to go out to eat. Thus ends this movie of stereotypical kid's film tropes and mean spirited competition for the affections of a innocent child.

Yeah, kid, that last line made me uncomfortable too.
This movie sucks, but it's not the worst I've seen. It has a lot of obvious played-out tropes that are often in these films marketed to whatever demographic these films are marketed towards, thus leaving it being a rather formulaic experience. The only thing that really bothered me in the end was how mean-spirited it really got in the competition for the daughter's affections. I know some dads end up doing this, but it generally made Victor seem like this huge rich dickhead who was using his money to make the poor father look bad in front of his daughter. She already lives in his big fucking house and seems to like him, so why be such an asshole by keeping her father from getting a gift for her? It's just awful and really makes it hard to like him, even after they bury their feud in the conclusion.

"My 1% sense is tingling!"

The other strange is how it seems like the movie was written to make Larry look like he's a saint for being so selfless, with him not caring about winning an expensive trip and basically busting his ass to try and make his daughter smile. It makes the film seem almost like it's saying that all rich people are shitty and poor people are just doing their best. I'm not a big fan of rich douchery, but that doesn't mean I think all poor people are great people either. There's horrible people all over. And just because you're not rich doesn't really mean you're this hard working person who should by sympathized with either. People can be lazy asstrolls regardless of their financial standing. That being said, please feel free to donate money to the site, like my page on Facebook, subscribe to my channel on YouTube, and follow my Twitter so I can continue to talk about movies like this one.

Does it really count as being a "sell out" when you still can't afford to buy a house?
The truth is this is a very by the numbers movie that left no real lasting impression and I can't really see it doing anything for many others either. All it really did is make me wonder why it needed to be called Jingle All the Way 2 when it could've easily just been called Larry the Cable Guy's Christmas Caper. I guess they really hoped they trick people into thinking this had something to do with the original film, when it had absolutely nothing to do with it in the least. Even Sinbad wanted nothing to do with this movie and I imagine he could probably use the money. I say you should skip this mess and go watch some other classics instead, because this wasn't even funny. It was just forgettable. So, until Arnold brings the world his magnum opus as envisioned by I-Mockery, I'll be here wondering how Larry the Cable Guy keeps getting work. Later days, bleeders.

"JINGAL ALL DEH VAY PART 3!"

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