The already-dubious WWE Studios label delivers yet another belated movie sequel nobody really wanted in the first place, as Larry the Cable Guy steps into Arnold Schwarzenegger’s role for another tired rock around the Christmas tree in Jingle All the Way 2.
Uncouth-yet-cool dad Larry (Mr. Cable Guy) is desperately trying to find the right Christmas gift for his daughter Noel (Kennedi Clements), and comes to learn that she wants the immensely popular Harrison Bear. Matters are further complicated when Noel’s wealthy new step-dad Victor (Brian Stepanek) procures a bear for Noel and proceeds to buy up all the remaining bears to ensure Larry loses favour in the eyes of his daughter.
Even for the standards of a studio that has produced also-ran sequels to forgettable flicks such as The Marine, 12 Rounds and See No Evil, Jingle All the Way is a laughably weak reprise of a formula that worked the first time for two reasons; Schwarzenegger’s eminent, self-deprecating appeal, and a sly satirical undercurrent which mocked the consumer-driven nature of the holiday season. Seeing as both elements are absent this time around, one has to ask – what’s the point?
The shell premise is depressingly, unimaginatively similar to the original movie, complete with a cute but whiny child of the protagonist, a “nice guy” who turns out to be an asshole, a much sought-after children’s toy that the protagonist struggles to find, some morally dubious actions on his part to procure said doll, and numerous awkward misunderstandings in-between. Throw in a vomit-inducing level of saccharine earnestness and you’ve got a recipe that only Larry’s most ardent fans will readily swallow down.
In addition, the evident low budget of the excursion does it few favours, nor does some outrageously signposted dialogue that epitomises screenwriter laziness, as well as a wealth of toilet humour and some truly diabolical CGI. As for wrestling fans, there’s a supporting performance from WWE star Santino Marella as Larry’s buddy Claude, though he does nothing of mention whatsoever.
Fans of the original movie, wrestling fans and even those who simply enjoy cheesy holiday flicks will all struggle to make head or tail of this oppressively bland, shoddily written Christmas film. With Larry now having starred in sequels to films headlined by both Dwayne Johnson (Tooth Fairy) and Schwarzenegger, whatever unnecessary sequel might the actor suit up for next?
Jingle All the Way 2 is available on Blu-ray and DVD now