By Jess Fenton
22nd November 2016

Been to the movies lately? Checked out the coming attractions? Just a month shy of Christmas there’s a severe lack of Christmas movies, don’t you think? There aren’t even any movies that remind us that it’s Christmas time. No more Hobbits. No more Hunger Games. Nothin'. And with award season just around the corner we’re about to get flooded with Oscar bait and depressing brilliance. Enter ‘Bad Santa 2’. We were scarred 13 years ago by Willie’s potty mouth, alcoholism and his proclivity for heavy-set gals. There was also a rise in dogs being named Thurman Merman. It’s possible I made that last “fact” up, but I definitely know that Adam Brody and Rachel Bilson did it.

Willie (Billy Bob Thornton, ‘Whiskey Tango Foxtrot’) has hit rock bottom, but after a failed attempt to pull a Sylvia Plath he gets a last minute reprieve from his old friend Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly) and a call back to the crime life by old enemy Marcus (Tony Cox, ‘Me, Myself & Irene’). A trip to Chicago reunites Willie with his mother Sunny (Kathy Bates, ‘Misery’) and the promise of a score worth millions. The catch? Willie juts can’t seem to shake that Thurman kid (now 21), has to once again adorn the red and white, and the target is a charity that aids the homeless and local children.


The first ‘Bad Santa’ was directed by indy darling Terry Zwigoff (‘Ghost World’) and born from the delicious minds of the incomparable Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (‘I Love You Phillip Morris’). It was crass, crude and sinfully hilarious, delighting everyone as it sailed strong amongst the sea of cookie-cutter “home for the holidays” Christmas fodder. Over a decade on, this long-awaited sequel is “under new management” and in the hands of ‘Mean Girls’ director Mark Waters with a couple of screenwriters who don’t exactly fit the bill for this kind of material.

Lacking the indy charm of the the first film and without its element of surprise, this one plays a bit by the book and they’ve just upped the salty talk by adding a third dirty mouth in Bates. Look, does it make me a bad person if I say I still really enjoyed it? Seeing that the only laughs I heard in the cinema came from myself and the fella next to me, I’m going to say that my favourable opinion is not a common one - doesn’t make it wrong, I’ve always said that every movie is for someone, it just has to find its audience. It turns out that once again ‘Bad Santa 2’ is for those who don’t offend easily and are tired of Christmas films about families that don’t get along yet ultimately love each other, or neighbours warring over who has the better Christmas light display. If you loved ‘Bad Santa’, you'll like ‘Bad Santa 2’. If you hated ‘Bad Santa’... you’ll probably still hate ‘Bad Santa 2’.

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