New Films: Jingle All The Way

Director: Brian Levant. Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rita Wilson, Phil Hartman (PG)
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The Independent Culture
Arnold Schwarzenegger continues his battering-ram-style assault on the comedy genre (after such limp failures as Twins and Junior) with his most inept, misjudged lunge yet. He plays Howard Langston, a workaholic who has begun to doubt his competence as a father. To prove to his son Jamie (Jake Lloyd) that he is a dynamite dad, he engages in the quest to find the most sought- after toy of the season - Turbo Man.

Like last year's far superior The Santa Clause, Jingle All the Way finds time to comment on the insecurities of modern parenthood (in his struggle to please his son, Schwarzenegger is up against a next-door neighbour who buys his kids a reindeer).

But it's a fraudulent picture, neither funny about the competitiveness of Christmas nor genuinely contemptuous of the behaviour it lampoons.