Bad Santa 2, 2016.
Directed by Mark Waters.
Starring Billy Bob Thornton, Brett Kelly, Tony Cox, Kathy Bates and Christina Hendricks.
A continuation, following a crooked and vulgar safe-cracker who uses Christmas, for the second time, as the basis of his plots to rob money whilst encountering issues from his past whilst battling alcoholism.
We return back to the life of Willie, a sharp-tongued, whiskey-soaked piece of shit Santa who’s handy when it comes to cracking a safe and retains a certain charismatic, uninterested charm with women.
Anybody who was a fan of the first Bad Santa remembers that its allure comes from the fact the series is a Christmas film with an anti-hero twist. Willie – played effortlessly by Billy Bob Thornton – is, at first glance, a self-centered and pitiful man that has a yearning for females and booze amongst other vices. What transpires is that somewhere in the depths of his ashy soul lies a conscientious man aided in the first film by his unpredictable companion, eight-year-old Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly).
In the sequel, we don our Christmas hats and return to the most miserable man in the world who’s unsuccessfully trying to kill himself only to be interrupted when he’s notified of a new plan to rob a charity in Chicago involving his ex-coworker/elf/money-chasing midget Marcus (Tony Cox) and his brazen Mother (Kathy Bates). Expect a couple of sex scenes, explicit language and a few laughs along the way.
Interestingly, the film is under new direction from Terry Zwigoff to Mark Waters who you feel is trying his hand at something a bit more explicit to beef up his CV after working on family comedies such as Freaky Friday and Mr. Popper’s Penguins.
The presence of Bernie Mac is missed greatly who was reliable at giving the first film a breath of energy when it needed it and unfortunately Thurman Merman doesn’t provide enough depth to the plot.
The film’s language and plot is slightly laborious at times, but expected. On the whole, Bad Santa 2 was always going to be a banker at the box office. I feel it’s actually a pretty safe film from Waters and he’s possibly passed up the opportunity to turn this into something darker, deeper and greater than Zwigoff’s original – especially with the brilliant Billy Bob Thornton at his disposal.
Scraping three stars purely for Thornton.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★