Review: Jingle All The Way (1996)

Inspired by real-life Christmas sell-out toys, Jingle All the Way looks at the typical trope of a workaholic father who takes his family for granted until it’s almost too late to be forgiven. Action star Arnold Schwarzenegger is no stranger to comedy roles having previously been is films like ‘Twins’ and ‘Kindergarten Cop’, however this was his first major role in a movie aimed directly at kids.

In typically predictable style, Arnie gets into all manner of scrapes as Howard, a man so self-absorbed that his family barely register on his radar. When he doesn’t attend his nine-year-old son, Jamie’s important karate class, he has to work extra hard to be forgiven. Promising material gifts rather than the more difficult ‘love’ that seems to elude him, his selfishness seems to know no bounds because he neglects to pick up the readily available toy that Jamie is desperate for, instead lying to both Jamie and his wife, Liz, telling them he’s got the toy to get them off his back. Hence, ‘Jingle All the Way’ is about Howard’s struggle to do what he promised to do months before but didn’t and the challenges he faces (all his own doing) creating a delightful Christmas romp for kids to enjoy.

In a story that has been seen time and time again, especially at Christmas, ‘Jingle All the Way’ does little to stand out from the crowd but it is light-hearted, funny and entertaining enough to be enjoyed during the festive season it is unlikely to remain a favourite from one year to the next.


‘Jingle All The Way’ doesn’t break any new ground and is somewhat dated but it is light-hearted, fun and festive so kids are bound to enjoy it and with a relatively short running length it is entertaining enough. We feel that this movie is appropriate for kids aged five and over.

  • Violence: 1/5 (a few mild punch ups and some slapstick comedy)
  • Emotional Distress: 1/5 (nine-year-old Jamie is often upset and disappointed by his father’s inability to put him before his work)
  • Sexual Content: 1/5
  • Bad Language: 1/5 (some infrequent mild cursing and blasphemy)
  • Dialogue: 0/5
  • Other Notes: Deals with themes of family, absent parents, divorce, promises, desperation, going to extreme lengths for your family, selfishness and forgiveness.