Jingle All the Way

Movie review by
Heather Boerner, Common Sense Media
Jingle All the Way Movie Poster Image
Ahnold terminates the holiday spirit.
  • PG
  • 1996
  • 85 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 13 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Harold yells at his son and neglects him but eventually redeems himself by dressing up like a superhero and procuring the prized holiday gift. Jamie learns that the gift is less important than the love of his father, but only after parents and kids obsess over getting the gift.

Violence & Scariness

Lots of punching, kicking, threats, and one explosion. While pervasive, the violence is comic, and no one actually gets hurt.

Sexy Stuff

Some brief kissing between parents. Ted is constantly hitting on Liz. Some unwitting double entendre by Jamie.

Language

Liz utters "damn" once, but other than that, it's mostly clean.

Consumerism

Gumby, the Cat in the Hat, and Crayola are all prominently displayed during a holiday parade. Two dads go to extremes for a toy.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Harold and Myron sneak liquor into their coffee after a long day of toy hunting. In a fantasy sequence, Jamie drinks liquor from the bottle.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this film offers nothing in the way of genuine family fun. Young kids may enjoy the action, car chases, and explosions, but they aren't worth it for the miserable messages about consumerism and buying your child's love.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 7 year old Written byLtTawnyMadison December 10, 2015

CS review is WAY off!

I was shocked to see CS' (and a few parents') take on this movie. The movie does not glorify materialism, it LAMPOONS it. The movie completely makes f... Continue reading
Adult Written byDeannafoxworth November 27, 2015

Fun, loud, lots of action

Be aware there is more language than advertised. Fun movie points out the value of family over stuff.
Teen, 15 years old Written bymoviefan115 April 10, 2012

The Worst Christmas Movie Ever

When I was younger, I liked this movie. But, I saw it again, and thanks to bad acting, stupid plot, unfunny jokes, and consumerism in its blood, I offically hat... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byDavidJ December 4, 2011

Good, Funny Movie

"Put that cookie down, Nao." This movie is a very funny Arnold Schwarzenegger flick, in which his character (Howard Langston) is in hunt to find a tur... Continue reading

What's the story?

Harold Langston (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a workaholic dad who doesn't spend enough time with his son, Jamie. In order to win back Jamie's love, Harold offers to buy him anything he wants for Christmas. Jamie knows what he wants immediately. In an excited voice, he recites the TV ad for the new TurboMan toy. Just days before Christmas, Harold sets out to find the toy, but it's sold out everywhere. He roams from store to store, chases ping pong balls for toy lotteries, visits a creepy shop of stolen and broken gifts, and rushes to a radio station to try to win a TurboMan contest. Along the way, he becomes rivals with a mail carrier dad, Myron (Sinbad), who quite literally goes postal. In an even ickier subplot, a womanizing next door neighbor (Phil Hartman) uses his good-dad persona to try to seduce Harold's wife, Liz (Rita Wilson).

Is it any good?

If you don't have to watch Jingle All the Way, don't. It's everything that's wrong with the holiday season: It's competitive, it's stressful, it's desperate, and it's all about consumerism. In short, there's no one in this movie for kids to look up to. And what that means is that, despite being about getting toys, this is a movie for adults who've been in Harold's position and who desperately want to be their sons' heroes. But it's not fun to watch for anyone.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's message. Is Christmas really all about getting THE toy? How do parents make time for their kids and show their love without gifts? What are your favorite things to do, especially during the holidays, that don't require spending money?

Movie details

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