*. I thought the original Bad Santa would be hard to match for its transgressive tastelessness, especially this many years later, in a time of renewed political correctness, but with Bad Santa 2 at least they can say they tried. And, I think they succeeded more than the film is given credit for. A box office bomb that was panned by critics, I don’t think it’s any kind of holiday classic, but it stands up pretty well alongside its predecessor.
*. This time out Bad Santa Willie Soke (Billy Bob Thornton) is roped into doing another job by his former partner Marcus Skidmore (Tony Cox), who is fresh out of jail. It seems Marcus has been tipped off by Willie’s even more reprobate mother (Kathy Bates) about the possibility of robbing a Chicago (Montreal) charity. The gang is completed when Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly) follows Willie to Chicago because it’s Christmas and Willie is now the only family he has left.
*. That being the plot, the rest of the movie is given over to the usual foul-mouthed shenanigans. Example: Mama’s endearing name for her wayward son is “shit stick” because of his precocious indulgence in anal sex. She calls him shit stick a lot.
*. I didn’t feel guilty about laughing at some of it. Thornton’s jaded sneer still plays well, and Cox and Bates are unredeemable rogues. Christina Hendricks shows up to be the new hot girl who is unaccountably attracted to Santa Daddy. The end credits are fittingly off-colour, but got another laugh out of me.
*. I think the worst that can be said of Bad Santa 2 is that it’s perfunctory. There are twists but no surprises. And I’ll even grant it as having a bit more Christmas spirit than the original, though I don’t think it’s as good a movie. In any event, I feel optimistic in saying this should be the last we’ll see of this B. S.