Well I have a new favourite Christmas movie…it’s right up there with Home Alone, It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street and of course, Die Hard.
That movie is Bad Santa 2, and while it would give Old Saint Nick and his elves nightmares, it’s a real Christmas miracle for anyone who adores un-PC, grossly offensive, and downright dirty comedies.
Directed by Mark Waters (Mean Girls), this follow-up to 2003’s Bad Santa finds Willie Soke (Billy Bob Thornton) pulled into yet another con with the two people he hates the most: old pal Marcus (Tony Cox) and his not-so-beloved mother Sunny Soke (Kathy Bates).
Willie’s life has by no means improved since we last saw him, but it’s all part of the fun. He’s still as selfish, troubled, foul-mouthed and rude as ever, but harbouring some real feelings of depression and loneliness. Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly) is still around of course, and in many ways is the only person who genuinely loves and cares for Willie.
As far as sequels go, I was pleasantly surprised by Willie’s second cinematic appearance. The plot is basic but it works, with Willie, Marcus and Sunny planning to rob a children’s charity on Christmas eve; but ever present is that itty bitty speckle of a heart that Willie has, brought on by an inexplicable love for the dim witted Thurman and a desire to be better than his mother. It’s these relationships that provide the film with a surprising emotional core, making Willie a man we (sort of) want to root for, against our better judgement. He’s still a piece of shit, but he’s a redeemable one.
Putting that emotional core crap aside, fans of the original won’t have to worry about the film lacking in sick jokes and crude moments — they went above and beyond to ensure Bad Santa 2 was laced with bad language, sex, santa on santa violence and very bad behaviour. You’ll feel awful for laughing…but boy will you laugh.
The cast has greatly benefitted this time around with the addition of Kathy Bates and Christina Hendricks, who are perfect matches for Thornton. Bates’ ability to spit out harsher insults than our titular anti-hero provide some killer moments, while Hendricks goes all the way when it comes to getting down and dirty with Willie. It’s refreshing to see the former Mad Men star throw caution to the wind and have fun with her role, and a starring comedy vehicle wouldn’t be a bad idea for the talented actress in the near future. I also must give a special shout out to a very memorable supporting act, Jenny Zigrino, who plays the kinky, confident and wild Gina, a security guard at the children’s charity. Trust me when I say she is one to watch. Brett Kelly is also marvellous as the unfortunately named Thurman Merman, who brings that child-like sense of wonder to every scene, and hilariously annoys Willie at every turn.
While you could fill your holiday season with cheer, joy and heartwarming Hallmark films, how about slipping in something a little filthier?
Image: Mad Men Films