Most movies starring Arnold Schwarzenegger tend to be pretty empty affairs but this film stands out, alongside Kindergarten Cop, as one of his best.We’ve all put our parents through the hell of getting us that “must have” toy for Christmas and this film centres on that familiar situation. After missing his son’s karate tournament, Howard Langston (Schwarzenegger) tries to make amends by promising to buy his son the much sought after Turbo-Man action figure for Christmas.
Naturally, Howard forgets to buy the toy, and since it’s now Christmas Eve, it’s sold out at every store in town. The film revolves around his mission to track down an action figure in order to save his family’s Christmas, as well as his marriage which is threatened when a charming divorcé moves in next door. He is joined in his chase by Myron Larabee (Sinbad) who is looking for a toy for his own son. The pair face off in a series of increasingly elaborate situations which culminates in them both gate crashing a Christmas parade, all while still trying to find the toy for their kid.
The film’s director, Brian Levant, was nominated for a ‘Worst Director’ award for this film and it was universally panned at the time of its release. However, despite all its failings there’s a certain charm in the over exaggerated acting and appalling special effects.
It’s sickeningly materialistic and continually glorifies the commercialism of Christmas but always with a knowing nod towards the audience. Schwarzenegger is more plastic that the toys themselves but that doesn’t matter, it’s a total cheese-fest that is perfect for this time of year.