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Bad Santa 2 Review

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Way back in 2003, Bad Santa burst onto our screens and showed us what mean spirited Christmas movies were all about, an unapologetic, gleeful exercise in being offensive with Billy Bob Thornton delighting in the chance to play the titular degenerate, Willie T. Soke, been the star on top of the tree. For the past thirteen years, fans have been baying for a sequel, and now that we finally have it............what were we thinking??!!! Sure, it’s chock full of the same pitch black humour (even recycling some of the same jokes), but incoming director Mark Waters (who continues his steady decline that began after he delivered us Mean Girls) fails to capture the heart and spirit of the original, leaving us with this pale facsimile of a sequel.


Thirteen years on, and a hard reset has been put on the lives of Willie and his friends. After beginning his path of redemption at the end of the first movie, Willie is once again an alcoholic, depressed misanthrope. Naive 8 year old Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly) is now a just as naive 21 year old who is so offensively dim witted it stops being funny after about a minute. Even Tony Cox is back as Willie’s parter in crime Marcus, fresh out of jail and in possession of a plan that will net the pair millions of dollars. Unfortunately for Willie, it means teaming up with his estranged mother Sunny (Kathy Bates) and donning the Santa suit again to infiltrate a successful Chicago charity.

From the off, it’s easy to see that writers Johnny Rosenthal and Shauna Cross don’t really get what makes the concept work and the characters tick, instead settling for ‘edgy’ humour and foul mouthed dialogue that fairly soon just becomes more mean than it is humorous. There is very little here to chuckle at, and what is there has been done a hundred times better before, not just by Bad Santa but by any number roof comedies of this ilk. The story is barely held together by Willie’s misadventures, which always end up with him either puking or having sex (I have to admire the restraint in not putting in a scene where he does both), as the more level headed members of his team work on a heist so ill defined you’ll find yourself wondering why it’s taking so long to plan it. The bare bones story is stretched wafer thin, with many plot developments left dangling in the air and a lot of the cast left with nothing substantial to do. After just ambling along for the better part of an hour, the narrative decides to barrel towards the finish line in the third act, throwing up plot twists that can be seen from space and trying to give the audience some semblance of an actual story too little too late.


As the movie is falling apart around him, Thornton does give it his all as Soke, some of his gruff charm thing through the under written role. Sure, he’s coasting off the fact that he’s played this character before, but a good character is a good character and he makes the most of what he’s given. The rest of the cast don’t even try, delivering all of their lines with all the energy of someone just there for a pay check. Those that actually have something to do that is, as there is so many nothing roles here that waste the rest of the cast, especially Christina Hendricks.

Lacking the wit, heart, and crude charm of the original, Bad Santa 2 is an unfunny copy of the far, far, FAR superior original. The cinematic equivalent of getting a lump of coal in your Christmas stocking.






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The Movie Bit: Bad Santa 2 Review
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