Bad Santa


Billy Bob Thornton as Willie T. Soke
Bernie Mac as Gin Slagel
Tony Cox as Marcus
Lauren Graham as Sue
John Ritter as Mall Manager
Cloris Leachman as Grandma
Joe Bucaro III as Sgt. Mick
Brett Kelly as The Kid
Ethan Phillips as Roger Merman
Ryan Pinkston as Lesher

To many people, Christmas is a time of the year to spend with family and friends, thinking of their good fortune and sharing it with others. Bad Santa is not the movie for those people.

Billy Bob Thornton is a mall Santa of the worst kind. He drinks, he womanizes, he curses, he isn’t even fat and forget about jolly. But he has an angle – he comes with his own midget/elf, and they also work cheap. But the Santa job is not the real job they are there to do. They take the mall Santa jobs in order to break into the store safe as well as steal merchandize on Chistmas Eve so that they can live the rest of the year in somewhat luxury.

Bad Santa is a movie that falls into the category of “guilty pleasures”. Sure there are things that you will laugh at, and some funny dialog and situations, but you will feel bad about yourself afterwards. The acting is great by Thornton. He is acidic, obnoxious, and falling down drunk for most of the movie, and he does it well. Tony Cox, who plays the put upon Santa’s helper but mastermind of the heist, also shines in a dark role. Bernie Mac fills in well as a cocky mall cop and the late John Ritter does a wonderful job as a mousey mall manager.

The movie does have many flaws. The plot is unbelievable. The characters are paper thin, even – Thornton who gets most of the screen time is little more than just “that drunk guy in the Santa suit”. Overall, the film is pretty morally bankrupt. However, that same moral void creates a nice hole to be filled with dark comedy. The humor is black and often will make you cringe, but there were times when the entire audience was laughing out loud.

Who should see this movie? If you like dark comedies and do not mind tarnishing the image of Santa Claus then you should enjoy the film. There is a little action, but not enough to satisfy action fans. There is a twisted love story, but not one for your average romantic. You will not need to bring your brain with you to watch the movie; it does not rely upon intellectual humor. If all you are looking for is a funny diversion from the overload of holiday cheer, you will enjoy the movie.