Bad Santa

Bad Santa
Cast: Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, Bernie Mac, Lauren Graham, John Ritter, Cloris Leachman and Brett Kelly
Director: Terry Zwigoff
Genre: Comedy/Crime
Rated: MA frequent coarse language, sexual references
Running Time: 80 Minutes

He Doesn't Care If You're Naughty Or Nice

When washed up, crooked and corrupt department store Santa, Willie T. Stokes isn't making appearances at shopping malls; he's a safecracker who makes an annual big score on Christmas Eve. But when Willie and his midget partner, Marcus, who serves as the man's Elf, come to Phoenix, they fall under the suspicious eye of Bob, a store manager, and Gin, a savvy mall detective. However, an eight-year-old misfit believes that the frequently intoxicated and foul-mouthed Willie is the real Santa.

My Verdict:
Take notice that Bad Santa is not your average Christmas holiday movie and is definitely not a movie for children. There are enough expletives used to fill a garbage truck which some might say is where they belong, so don't bother to see this movie if bad language or obscene behaviour offends. You have been warned! However, for those of you that like a pitch black, crass, vulgar and irreverent comedy, 'Bad Santa' is perfect. And how.

Billy Bob Thornton is Willie or Santa as many come to know him. But he is a suicidally depressed drunk who has an overactive sex drive and doesn't care who he offends with his disrespectful behaviour. And somehow he keeps getting a gig as Santa, thanks mainly to his vertically challenged offsider Marcus (Tony Cox) and because he moves from city to city each holiday season. Marcus and Willie make a great team as Santa and his helper Elf, and they use the situation to rob the store where they are working and then move on to the next town. But in Phoenix they come unstuck when the store manager Bob (the late John Ritter doing a sterling job in his last film and to which this film is dedicated in memory of) becomes suspicious. Bob in turn asks for help from the mall security head honcho, Gin (Bernie Mac) who twigs to Marcus and Willie's scam and wants a cut. Add to this mix, Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly), a misfit oddball kid who befriends Willie and Sue (Lauren Graham), a barmaid who has a sexual bent for Santa's and it's a riot of one offensive joke after another with the laughter sometimes drowning out subsequent lines. There is also a gorgeous appearance by Cloris Leachman as Thurman's grandmother.

Billy Bob Thornton did confess to using (abusing?!) alcohol whilst making the film, which is believable when you see him in action as he turns one of the most endeared characters into a walking, puking, disgrace. Yet, he still has some moments of redemption as he develops a relationship of sorts with Thurman. This is not a movie about how low can a human sink, but perhaps a portrait of one off the rails.

Still, this is one bad, bad Santa who is so vulgar, crass and sometimes so revolting you'll be amazed as the memorable offensive and regularly funny quotes just keep coming and coming and coming..

To quote Willie : "I'm an eating, drinking, shitting, fucking Santa Claus".

Say no more.

Rating : B

Christina Bruce


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