Directed by Terry Zwigoff
Starring Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, Bernie Mac, Lauren Graham, Brett Kelly
Christmas Film Review by Chris Olson
As with most genres, Christmas movies have a few select titles and characters whom provide the alternative yet still fit into the niche. Kick-Ass being an example for superhero films, and Kingsman for spy movies. Festive films have Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa: an alcoholic, foul-mouthed, whoring department store Santa Claus who uses his job in order to rob his employers every year. So far so merry right?
Released in 2003, Bad Santa has become a bit of a cult classic for movie fans who don't particularly like Christmas. As a respite from the more sweet and sugary films, it works perfectly as a palette cleanser if you are a little bit fed up of jolly Santas and helpful elves. Speaking of which, Tony Cox plays Marcus, fellow conman and aid/elf to Thornton's Willie, who is just as foul-mouthed but not quite as degenerate, and offers up some of the best zingers during Bad Santa. As the two of them embark on their yearly scam, a tenuous and belligerent friendship seems to build between them.
Willie also finds hope for his soul in the form of a loser kid played by Brett Kelly. Initially hoping to take advantage of the child's naivety, Santa soon comes to care for the poor kid, even beating seven bells out of the local bullies who torment him. Lauren Graham also plays a fun-loving waitress who enjoys several bouts of athletic sex with Willie whilst also offering some compassionate reflections along the way.
Director Terry Zwigoff throws in plenty of slapstick comedy and action sequences to keep viewers happy. The violence does not pull its punches either, something which audiences may find unsettling in a genre film like this. This is absolutely not suitable for children.
It's not exactly It's a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street but Bad Santa does have a special place on the naughty list of Christmas films. Thematically there is a lot to garner from the story. Such as it is wrong to steal, or that doing something nice for someone else is the actual meaning of Christmas. Or that taking a job as a department store Santa is not ideal if you have a problem with copious amounts of children urinating on you.
Happy Holidays everyone.