A family-friendly break in-between "Eraser" and "Batman & Robin", "Jingle All the Way" stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as Howard Langston, a father who loves his family, but has been a little more wrapped up in his work lately. As the movie opens, he's late for another family event - his kid's karate match - and gets there late after a cop stops him on the way.
His son (Jake Lloyd, who would later go on to play Anakin Skywalker in the first "Star Wars" prequel) wants one thing for Christmas: a Turboman action figure (we see the "Turboman" series early in the film, and it's a more cornball "Power Rangers" - although, I can call the "Power Rangers" series cornball, but it's still on over a decade later.)
It's Christmas Eve, and Howard has forgotten to pick up the action figure, which - as his wife (Rita Wilson) informs him - is probably already sold out across the city. He figures out a way to get out of the house and runs to the stores, dodging other last-minute shoppers and facing off against another father (Sinbad) in an attempt to grab the last Turboman.
There's also the matter of a crooked Santa (James Belushi), an irritable cop (Robert Conrad) who keeps getting in the way and the fact that Howard's neighbor (the late Phil Hartman - who else can look at Arnold seriously and say a line like, "You can't bench press your way out of this one!" and still get a huge laugh?) has his sights set on Howard's wife. The film's performances are nothing special, aside from Hartman, who gives a welcome dose of smugness to his delivery. Schwarzenegger is rather bland, as is Rita Wilson, who's stuck in a minor role.
The film essentially turns into one large chase scene, with Howard running around the city just missing the latest shipments of the dolls. While parents can still certainly relate to the film's core concept today (just ask the parents who will once again try to find a Nintendo Wii this year), it still seems rather thin when stretched out to 122 minutes on this director's cut of the picture. The film's 102 minute theatrical cut (which is also included here, as viewers can select either cut from the main menu) keeps the pace quite a bit tighter and is the preferred edition of the movie.
VIDEO: "Jingle All the Way" is presented here in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen by Fox. The film doesn't offer much in the way of visual style (it looks like a TV movie), but this presentation serves it up just fine. Sharpness and detail remained average, as while the picture didn't look soft, it lacked a certain crispness. Some minor edge enhancement was spotted and some slight artifacting was seen, but neither problem was too distressing. Colors looked bright and well-saturated, with no smearing or other faults.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation remained an average "comedy" mix, with limited use of the surrounds. Audio quality was fine, with crisp dialogue and effects.
EXTRAS: 2 interactive games, "The Making of a Hero" featurette, "Super Kids" featurette and "Turbo Man: Behind the Mask" featurette.
Final Thoughts: Not good nor truly bad, "Jingle All the Way" gets a few laughs, but otherwise remains rather forgettable. This new "Family Fun" edition DVD offers a longer cut of the film and a few minor featurettes, but audio/video quality remains the same. Recommended for fans of the film who haven't purchased it. Those who already own the DVD don't need to upgrade.
The Film C