Jingle All the Way (1996)
Oddly enough, I have fond memories of this and still enjoyed it upon rewatch. It's goofy, over the top, unevenly acted, completely reprehensible, but also quite a lot of fun. On this one, I can just toss the plot out the window, lay aside the horrible role models, and just enjoy the pure Ahnold goodness.
I've become a parent since I first watched this, and just remembered it as being goofy and a fun film. I'd even been wondering ahead of time if this is one I'm getting close to being able to share with my 7 & 8 year old kids. No sir. Not even remotely close. I must say that the CommonSenseMedia review is spot-on and this movie is largely about a completely delinquent father trying to buy his son's love with a present. That said, while I won't have the kids watching it anytime soon, I still enjoy it for the Ahnold Cheese.
Arnold gives a pretty rocky performance in this one and doesn't appear to have really been into the character. I can hardly blame him if he wasn't, but he does at least have a lot of fun with it and that's mainly what I'm looking for in this type of movie. Quite an impressive amount of "Aaauuuaaaggghhhh" going on for a comedy and I love that they fit in an action sequence involving the Santa Underground Mafia to give him the obligatory fight sequence. His expressions are excellent and some of the glares at Phil and Sinbad are really fun.
I've apparently not watched this since 1999 as I had one of those "holy crap!" moments when I realized why I have such bad memories of Arnold's kid in this. Lo and behold, it's f-ing Jake Lloyd! Ugh, ugh, and ugh. So if I ever needed any further proof of just how off the deep end George was when he cast this kid, I don't have to look any further than the completely irritating performance he put in here. Good news is that now his performance in Episode 1 doesn't seem nearly as bad by comparison.
Ahnold Quotient - 8
For a comedy with Arnold keeping his shirt on, there's a substantial amount of Ahnold running through this one. All the fun and/or goofy expressions are here, there's some good physical acting, and plenty of one-liners.
Rewatchability - Rarely
It's fun to watch, and I'm happy to watch it once every couple of Christmases, but it's not a particularly well-crafted movie. I'd be a little skittish to recommend this to anyone other than a die hard Arnold fan, and I'd certainly not suggest it to anyone under age 13.
Up next is the biggie. The wall I'm not sure I can overcome... Batman & Robin. Pretty much the movie I picture when I think "what the hell happend to Arnold in his later films?" so may have to imbibe in some adult beverages to get through that sucker. And if I manage that, I get rewarded with having to watch End of Days. Sheesh.