Movie News & Reviews

Movie review: This ‘Bad Santa’ sequel is more sad than bad

Billy Bob Thornton stars as Willie Soke and Kathy Bates as Sunny Soke in “Bad Santa 2.”
Billy Bob Thornton stars as Willie Soke and Kathy Bates as Sunny Soke in “Bad Santa 2.” Broad Green Pictures/Miramax

If ever there was a movie that should never have been made, “Bad Santa 2” is that movie.

It’s vile, like something written by a pen dipped in bile.

Its dialogue is a gushing sewer of obscenity. After watching it, a viewer may feel the need to take a nice long hot shower to wash the experience off.

Back n 2003, the original “Bad Santa” generated its laughs through surprise and shock: surprise at the shocking misbehavior of its title character, an alcoholic misanthrope played by Billy Bob Thornton. Did Willie Soke, thieving department store Santa, really spout profane rancor into the ears of impressionable young kids? Sure did. Was he an unregenerate horndog hooked on meaningless sex? Sure was. How very un PC of him. And one would laugh. But one wouldn’t feel too good about oneself for having done so.

Now, 13 years later, he’s back. But whatever rancid charm the original possessed has been replaced by a sense of unrelieved bitterness.

This picture opens with Willie, submerged in self-loathing, vomiting in an alley and shortly thereafter urinating on a photo of the young woman who was the single ray of cheer in the first movie. She hasn’t been brought back for the sequel, and in her stead the screenwriters introduce Willie’s mother, played by Kathy Bates. Upon seeing her for the first time in many years, he hauls off and punches her in the face. Not nice! It turns out though she totally deserves it. She’s been a horror of a mom from the moment he was born. “I didn’t even know I’d given birth until I tripped over him,” she confides.

Some highlights: Willie, clad as Santa, kneeing another Santa in the groin and then stomping him. Willie, clad as Santa, engaging in alley sex with a character played by Christina Hendricks. Willie, exchanging coarse insults with Marcus, his partner in crime who tried to kill him in the first movie.

And so it goes. On and on. Coal in a stocking would be an upgrade from this poisonous holiday gift.

Bad Santa 2

1/2 out of 5 stars

Cast: Billy Bob Thornton, Brett Kelly, Kathy Bates, Christina Hendricks, Tony Cox.

Director: Mark Waters.

Running time: 1:32.

Rated: R, for crude sexual content and language throughout, and some graphic nudity.