Not Just A Stupid Holiday Comedy
- Whether considering his horrible childhood or his current life as a sleazebag criminal, Willie (Billy Bob Thornton) is used to living a tough and unsatisfying life. The only aspect of his life that is satisfying is the yearly December 25th payoff. Every Christmas time, along with his compact-sized partner-in-crime Marcus (Tony Cox), Willie dresses up as Santa at different malls to better get inside and rob the place of its seasonal earnings.
After years of success, this year becomes problematic. The problem is Willie has continually slipped deeper and deeper into his life-long depression year after year, until he is finally in the state he is in: a vulgar womanizing drunk loser. Naturally, being this way affects his work and leads to all sorts of trouble. As the Christmas season arrives right on time, our criminal duo faces an uptight manager (John Ritter) and an adept but crooked head of security (Bernie Mac) at the targeted mall; but Willie also meets a beautiful barmaid Sue (Lauren Graham) and a down-trodden kid (Brett Kelly) who affects him in a profound way. Bad Santa (2003) is known for its stupid comedy nature but it is more than that - it is an enjoyable, worthwhile film too.
Bad Santa has a good deal of clever scenes and lines, but is also a very crude film with a good portion of tasteless humor and over-the-top obscenities. However, while this Santa film is much more naughty than nice, the film is surprisingly character-oriented and strong in theme as we see Sue and the Kid's impact on Willie's life, which is certainly falling apart because of his alcoholism and an attack of conscience. Bad Santa is much more than a stupid comedy but it still manages to generate a lot of laughs, a lot of which can be credited directly to Billy Bob Thornton's performance. Thornton's performance of Willie really is the whole show. He makes this nasty perverted drunk a likable character, being very funny through both line deliveries and physical mannerisms but also bringing out Willie's troubles wonderfully.
So reviewing our list (and checking it twice)....
Is Bad Santa crude? Yep.
Is it vulgar? Uh huh.
Is it funny? You bet - plus a little bit extra in character, theme and performance.
CBC Rating: 8/10