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Jingle Jangle poster

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

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Why it’s worth your time:

It’s a sweet, fun, magical, musical fairy tale that deserves to become a new holiday classic. As with most fairy tales, the first act is a bummer. Jeronicus Jangle, played by Justin Cornwell and later by Forest Whitaker, is a successful business owner with a loving family, all of which he loses in the first 20 minutes of the movie. And as with most fairy tales, betrayal and theft — in this case by Jeronicus’s resentful assistant Gustafson (Keegan-Michael Key) — leads to the destruction of Jeronicus’ life and invention mojo. How will he get it back? Enter his bouncy, delightful granddaughter Journey (Madalen Mills), who’s been sent by her mother Jessica (Anika Noni Rose) to visit him for Christmas. But has Journey (get it?) arrived in time to help “Grandpa J” save the family toy story? Well, like I said, this is a fairy tale, after all.

Legend and Lawrence’s catchy Hip-hop/R&B flavored songs are perfectly combined with Ashley Wallen’s (The Greatest Showman) energetic choreography. Wallen is a man who clearly knows how to make swirling Victorian dresses pop and crowd scenes shine. Music-wise, all the actors do a great job with everything they’re given, whatever their musical background may be. I really enjoyed Key’s performance as Gustafson in “Magic Man G” and Marisha Williams’ lovesick postwoman in “Miles and Miles.”

The joy and fun in the story is all about the people Journey and her grandfather meet and the lessons they learn along the way to their happy ending. The catchy tunes and Edwardian costumes help, too. Jingle Jangle is a tale about believing that good things still happen, no matter what your current circumstances look like. And that, more likely than not, the solutions to your problems are right within reach.

The takeaway:

Jingle Jangle is just a good time. And Journey’s ever-present smile is so addictive, you’re going to find yourself grinning the entire time.

Watch it with:

If you have kids, definitely watch this with them. They will love it. And if you love either musicals or Christmas, this is also for you.

Worth noting:

Jingle Jangle is one of a bunch of movies this holiday season that feature non-Cis white characters, including The Happiest Season and Dash and Lily. I’m not mad at the trend. There are also a couple of cool easter eggs—look out for Jeronicus’s suitcase!

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