Jingle All the Way

Bomb Rating: 

If you're an optimist, the positive spin on "Jingle All the Way"is that if you avoid it, you can finally remove the poker that's been lodged in your anus since you paid to see "Last Action Hero." On the negative side, those who actually watch the film will experience a sensation like that of watching kids play on a steep, icy street in the dead of winter. The first kid to fall on his ass is kind of funny until you realize he's gone sliding down the street into the intersection of Lazy Residential Ave. and Runaway Semi Blvd. What follows is that horrible, frightening kind of laugh you experience when a psychotic doctor gives you laughing gas before telling you he's also laced your aspirin with cyanide.

A great many scenes in "Jingle All the Way" look like they were culled directly from an infomercial -- either that or Rita Wilson, Phil Hartman and Sinbad were contractually bound to not upstage the acting talents of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Toward the end there's a long sequence of events that ends with Rita Wilson saying, "That's my husband," which you're sure will be followed by forced applause and a 1-800 number for a Thighmaster or an Abflex.

At the center of this big cartoon is Howard Langston (Arnold) who hides his patriarchal inadequacies by working too hard. Seeking redress for too many broken promises, his kid requests a Turbo Man, the hottest toy of the Christmas season. Dad runs off on Christmas Eve to find the thing and doesn't have much luck. Ha ha, ho ho.

This is one of those films that's so bad you become acutely uncomfortable when people around you laugh, because what they're laughing at is so unfunny you're forced to conclude they're insane. One can only hope these people won't be near anything sharp when Arnold Schwarzenegger finally stops trying to make comedies.

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