WWE Studios has had an abnormally prolific year, getting one of their films in theaters (Oculus), resulting in respectable box office numbers, and churning out three direct-to-DVD efforts, all of which sequels or some sort of continuation of another preexisting entity. In just a little over two months, WWE Studios has released a prequel to the Leprechaun franchise, a sequel to See No Evil, and, perhaps the strangest release in their catalog thus far, a sequel to the Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle Jingle All the Way starring Larry the Cable Guy. One takes a look at the DVD cover art for the film and regards it with a certain disdain, as they see a thrown together, and slightly disturbing image of Larry the Cable Guy and Kennedi Clements, before cringing and, likely, passing by it with no further comment or thought. I simply couldn't leave it alone.
For starters, I always hear the complaint about some actors never leaving their comfort zone or sticking to being typecast in certain roles, like Michael Cera in the awkward schoolboy roles and Channing Tatum in the man-candy ones. However, home come few address Larry the Cable Guy's inability to be anyone besides his one-note joke character in films? He has found ways to appear in a Madea film, a sequel to The Rock's Tooth Fairy, and two Cars films, plus an abundance of short films, playing no one other than his redneck archetype and consistently showing how a cute idea descends into tedium if not properly carried out. My personal problem with Larry the Cable Guy is a newfound one, for I used to find him amusing, is the fact that he is a man entirely made out of a joke that has been stretched threadbare for years and it was a joke that wasn't worth more than momentary amusement.
Larry the Cable Guy plays none other than a character named Larry in Jingle All the Way 2, a ne'er-do-well father, who is desperately trying to be his daughter's favorite male figure now that, following what we can see was a fairly mild divorce brewed from minor inconvenience, Victor (Brian Stepanek), a wealthy businessman, has now entered in her life as her stepfather. Larry's daughter Noel (Kennedi Clements) is anticipating Christmas a lot this year because, judging from her private letter to Santa Claus, she wants a stuffed teddy bear named Harrison, which happens to be the season's hottest toy. Upon discovering this, Larry makes it his mission to not only give Noel a memorable Christmas but to find a Harrison Talking Bear, which proves difficult once Victor realizes his plan and begins to buy out each store's stock of Harrison bears.
The original Jingle All the Way was never a holiday favorite of mine, as it offput me with its materialistic mindset and massively contentious story given it's a Christmas film, but Jingle All the Way 2 finds ways to be even more offputting given its lack of any redeemable characters and ridiculously overblown story. As we constantly see Larry being beaten by Victor seconds after he acquired an entire store's lot of Harrison bears, we question why he doesn't just order the bear online or ask the store manager to reserve one for him. In addition, watching two grown men fight like children for ninety minutes does not make for a good film whatsoever. If we're not seeing Larry breathlessly race around and passive-aggressively speak with Victor, we must endure the same kind of jokes that Larry the Cable Guy has made a career out of making, only this time, set in the context of a Christmas film.
Jingle All the Way 2 isn't frustratingly bad, because, if you sit down to watch it, you've already questioned "why?" numerous times, regarding the film's production, existence, and thought-process, but it completely avoids any and all likability when you watch the year's frothiest ending conclude such an awful picture before your very eyes. If there's one thing Jingle All the Way 2 has going for it, at least it's consistently bad and has an ending that effectively lives up to the standards the film has set for itself.
Starring: Larry the Cable Guy, Brian Stepanek, Kennedi Clements, Santino Marella, and Kristen Robek. Directed by: Alex Zamm.