By: Mitch Hansch (Four Beers) –
Before there was Deadpool, there was Bad Santa. 13 years ago Billy Bob Thornton donned a red suit, with the filthiest mouth around, and was able to regenerate from any wounds (physical or emotional) with his superpower of being able to consume great amounts of anything alcohol. Thornton’s sex fiend, booze swilling, kid cursing, safe cracking mall Santa is now a Christmas classic. I’ll never look at an Advent calendar the same. Many Christmases since it has often been on my wish list for a Bad Santa sequel. Problem was, I forgot to also ask that it would be worth it.
Willie Soke (Thornton) is back, convinced to uncoil the toaster cord off of his neck and come out of retirement by his double-crossing elf partner (Tony Cox) that tried to kill him last time around. They team up with Willie’s even filthier mom played by Kathy Bates and aim to heist a homeless children’s charity for one more big score.
A toast to Billy Bob Thornton. He’s in a bit a career upswing, and that’s a good thing, because that means more… you guessed it… more Billy Bob Thornton. Thornton is such a good actor that his down and always out Willie Soke breaks our heart when he goes off about the reasons and moments that made him a whiskey glass all empty kind of guy. It’s just too bad the film’s direction and script can’t match Thornton’s deranged heart.
The first film’s well-placed deranged heart is seriously lacking in #2. Johnny Rosenthal and Shauna Cross’ script can’t hit the bigger notes. The only time they come close is with Thornton’s interaction with the first film’s Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly) character who is 21 years old now and considers Soke the only family he’s got. Soke’s family reunion is less than moving. Things really hit home in the first film because of Soke’s hitting a nasty but evoking rock bottom, but in the sequel the only gravitas you get is the proverbial coal left in the film’s stocking for being bad. Rosenthal and Cross are more focused on saying nasty dialogue.
The nasty dialogue isn’t anywhere near as funny as the writers think it is. It mostly just comes off mean. Maybe it’s the time we live in now; I recently just watched all of Arrested Development again (oh, good for me), but a lot of that dialogue, especially the ill-gotten Netflix season, just felt a bit cringeworthy. Same here, as where the nastiness of Deadpool pays off, here they’re just trying to cram in as many ‘I hate women’ and little person jokes as they can to fill space.
Tony Cox’s character return isn’t really needed in the film at all and serves no good purpose but for to expel as many little people jokes as possible and to set up a Mexican standoff for the film’s climax. It’s not a very layered character, nor is Tony Cox the caliber actor that Thornton is, so maybe they felt forced to give him less to do. He plays angry offended well, and that’s all his character is really used for.
Bad Santa 2 is a Christmas wish gone bad.
Bad Santa 2 (2016) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time Billy Bob Thornton is called Shitstick.
Take a Drink: every time Billy Bob Thornton drinks.
Take a Drink: for every sexual act played out onscreen.
Do a Shot: whenever someone pukes.