Dec 28, 2014

Review: Jingle All the Way 2 (2014)

Before even watching Jingle All the Way 2, one can't help but wonder why this movie was made at all. Why would anyone want to see a sequel to Jingle All the Way 18 years later without Arnold Schwarzenegger? Without even a cameo from Sinbad? I doubt they were tendered any offers anyway because that would just be insulting.

What I want to avoid doing with this review is rant about Larry the Cable Guy, so I guess I'll just get it out my system now. I'm not really all that familiar with his stand-up career, but I think I know enough. He's essentially created this on-stage redneck persona who'll say controversial things, but gets a pass because he's just an ignorant redneck after all. Oh, he's got his "git-r-done" catchphrase too. He's imported this persona and brought it into awful titles like Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector and Witless Protection. It's the same schtick all the time and I just can't comprehend how it was ever funny in the first place.


Genre: comedy, family
Directed by: Alex Zamm
Produced by: Michael J. Luisi, Vicki Sotheran
Written by: Stephen Mazur
Music by: Chris Hajian
Running time: 93 minutes
Production company: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, WWE Studios
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Hollydan Works
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $5,000,000
Box office: N/A

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Larry the Cable Guy, Brian Stepanek, Anthony Carelli, Kennedi Clements, Kirsten Robek, Rachel Hayward, Matty Finochio, Eric Breker, Brenda Crichlow, Reno Collier, Nicholas Harrison



Larry Phillips (Larry the Cable Guy) adores his daughter Noel (Kennedi Clements) and does his best to do whatever he can to make her happy. He takes her out on all sorts of outdoor activities which he's able to do since he only works part-time. Larry went through a divorce recently and Noel's mother Trish (Kirsten Robek) has since married Victor (Brian Stepanek), the owner of a box manufacturing company. Unlike Larry, he's very rich and he's ready to do whatever it takes to win the affection of Noel.


I've already explained my disdain for Larry the Cable Guy and Jingle All the Way 2 does nothing to defuse the situation. Larry is unfailingly unfunny in every single scene that he graces with his presence. Stephen Mazur doesn't give him any material that's worthwhile and director Alex Zamm lets Larry flounder in his own mess the whole way through. It's hard to believe someone can be so unfunny without trying to purposefully, but Larry the Cable Guy manages to do exactly that.

I hate ragging on kids, but Kennedi Clements gives a pretty sorry excuse for child acting in this movie. I'm willing to place most of the blame on the director here though, because I'm pretty sure Zamm instructed Clements to be annoyingly enthusiastic without offering any corrections as she was doing that. Kids need guidance and Zamm doesn't provide it. Watching her character is quite unbearable, but don't you love how her name is Noel? Like Christmas in French? Very thoughtful Mr. Mazur, good thinking.

Jingle All the Way 2 takes its time to establish itself as a sequel to Jingle All the Way in the sense that the search for the toy takes some time before it develops. I guess I can sort of respect that Stephen Mazur tries to do things differently, but it's not a worthwhile effort in any way. We get treated to Larry the Cable Guy getting violently ragdolled by a surge of electricity as well as a torrent of water from a trailer of melted snow as he tries to outdo Victor in order to please Noel. Along with some sappy family drama scenes, there's nothing here unless you enjoy slow torture.

So what's the toy Larry has to get for Noel? It's not Turbo-Man, I can tell you that. The season's hottest toy this time is Harrison the Bear who can talk and can actually learn your name if you care about that. It's pretty hard to believe that this is the best Mazur could cook up. A talking teddy bear? It doesn't even have a catch phrase like "It's turbo time!" or say anything even remotely interesting.

One of JAtW2's biggest shortcomings is that the search for Harrison the Bear is flat and devoid of any fun. Remember the hectic energy of Jingle All the Way as Howard Langston tries to get a Turbo-Man doll for Jamie (Jake Lloyd)? That's gone because Jingle All the Way 2 is where fun goes to a funeral parlor and chooses its own coffin.

Jingle All the Way 2 can be easily summed up as lazy. It's the kind of movie you can predict what's going to happen next without fail. It slowly lumbers its way to the conclusion which is sappy beyond belief in its attempt to be that nice family movie. (Spoilers) Turns out that Noel never even wanted a Harrison Bear in the first place, she just wanted her family to be together on Christmas, and that's exactly what happens. Ain't that precious? (End Spoilers) The anti-materialistic message is also quite half-hearted and poorly conceived.

There's no point in watching Jingle All the Way 2. I know it has its fans, but I didn't even like Jingle All the Way that much in the first place. Compared to its sequel though, it's easily superior in every single way without really trying. JAtW2 isn't funny, it moves along at a zombie's pace and it's incredibly lazy which can be seen in the writing, the direction and even the cinematography. Whoever thought CGI establishing shots would pass unseen is delusional. Just ignore Jingle All the Way 2 because it has no business in even existing.



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