Title: Jingle All The Way 2Director: Alex Zamm
Starring: Larry the Cable Guy, Brian Stepanek, Santino Marella, Kennedi Clements, Kristen Robek, Rachel Hayward, Matty Finochio, Eric Breker, Brenda Crichlow, Alex Zamm
Plot: Divorced dad Larry (Larry the Cable Guy) is on the hunt for a Harrison Bear the must have toy for his daughter Noel (Clements), only to soon find himself in direct competition with her wealthy stepfather Victor (Stepanek).
Review: This sequel has certainly been a long time in the works coming 18 years after the original film, which saw Arnie showcasing his usual action hero antics only within a family movie setting and while it might have been critically mauled on its release it has over years built a notable cult following making the fact that we now have this film none the less surprising.
Directed by Alex Zamm whose spent most of his career churning out direct to DVD sequels, the film is interestingly also a co-production with “WWE Studios” who have now moved from their original template of putting wrestlers into leading roles for their productions and now instead use their roster in supporting roles for the majority of their output bar a couple of exceptions such as “The Marine” series and the forthcoming “The Condemned 2 which have stuck to the original template. So with this film we get Santino Marella (minus his trademark Italian accent) playing the sidekick to bumbling redneck Larry.
Sadly Arnie choose not to come back for the sequel dashing any hopes we might have had in seeing a round two between him and Sinbad which in a perfect world would have been in giant furby costumes, but alas it was sadly not to be. So instead we have Larry playing….well Larry a character which is not too much of a stretch from his usual antics as he plays the fun loving and terminally laid back father, who shares a great relationship with his daughter, even with his questionable approach to parenting as seen with the film opening with his questionable approach to a healthy breakfast (Cheetos and twinkies). At the same time he has a great relationship with his ex-wife, let alone everyone he encounters, but still it is nice to see a more modern look on the divorced parent’s scenario, than the usual my ex-wife is a bitch. I do have to question how we are supposed to believe that these two were ever married especially considering how polar opposite they are yet alone the fact that she would ever except going to sizzler on her honeymoon as Larry proudly proclaims.
Plot wise the film is none to different from the first with Larry dashing about trying to find a Harrison bear, which seemingly is a furrier version of the “Good Guy Doll” from “Child’s Play” as it interacts with the child and learns their name etc, only with none of the downsides of being possessed by the spirit of a serial killer. However unlike the first film here the toy is in plentiful supply which would have made this a much shorter film, had it not been for Noel’s wealthy stepfather who uses his fortune made from cardbox boxes which it would seem are surprisingly lucrative, seeing how he is able to buy up every Harrison bear in town as part of his “Operation: Who’s The Daddy” scheme which I’m not sure if it means the same stateside, but here in the UK certainly has a more raunchy meaning. Stepanek while for the most part in the role is pretty much seems to be going through the motions of your typical direct to DVD villain only minus any kind of real threat and at the same time lacking in the smugness that Phil Heartman brought to fill this void that the lack of threat brings, even though his surprisingly more threatening head of security does a pretty good job.
I’ve not had a lot of experience with the work of Larry the Cable Guy and only recently found out while researching for this review that he is also the voice of Mater in “Cars” but here he certainly seems to be channelling the same fun energy that Jim Varney brought to his “Ernest” movies even if Larry does seem to embrace the same love of over the top disguises, with the closest to this being when he pretends to be homeless to get a bear at a toy drive, which while kind of questionable does at least see Larry question his actions. The majority of the film though is spent concocting increasingly more hair brained schemes, such as a failed attempt to put together his own festive lights display or even more randomly trying to bring snow down from the mountains. Its only made more random by the willingness for other people (mainly Claude) are to help him with them.
The humour throughout is largely slapstick with a spattering of forced humorous moments but compared to the live action of Disney its certainly miles ahead even if its lingering around the same comedy level of most frat comedies, making it not a bad way to waste away some time over the festive season. Ultimately though this does pale in comparison to the superior original whose inventiveness let alone star power helped raise it well above the level of your usual festive vehicle so it was always going to be a hard film to beat but compared to the current crop of festive movies this is certainly one of the better efforts and it certainly made me smile while equally making me hope that we see more film work by Santino Marella.