Santa back to shock

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Film - with Ju­lian Wright

NOTH­ING says Christ­mas like an old, mis­er­able, of­fen­sive, pot­ty­mouthed al­co­holic.

There is usu­ally one at ev­ery fam­ily lunch on Christ­mas Day, but the twist in Bad Santa is that he is in the guise of the gen­er­ous jolly fat man who is sup­posed to make the sea­son ex­tra-spe­cial for chil­dren.

The sim­plis­tic, one-joke idea from 2003 that flips the cliche of a sweet, re­spectable com­mu­nity mem­ber on its head has spawned a cou­ple of spin-offs (Bad Teacher, Bad Moms) and re­turns safely to rou­tine for this be­lated se­quel, Bad Santa 2.

Con man Wil­lie (Billy Bob Thorn­ton) reteams with for­mer side­kick Mar­cus (Tony Cox), who dou­ble-crossed and tried to kill him, to steal mil­lions from a Chicago char­ity.

A third un­ex­pected party in the plan is Wil­lie’s dead­beat mum Sunny (Kathy Bates).

Mean­while, Thur­man Mer­man (Brett Kelly) is all grown up and still fol­low­ing Wil­lie around like a lost puppy.

To give you an idea (in case you didn’t al­ready know) of what to ex­pect, one el­derly cou­ple walked out be­fore the half­way mark of the pre­view screen­ing im­me­di­ately af­ter the graphic de­scrip­tion of a sex­ual act.

The eas­ily-of­fended need not bother, but to any­one else who can get a few laughs out of a hand­ful of mis­er­able char­ac­ters in­dulging in de­bauch­ery, then grab a ticket.

The ex­ple­tive-laden in­sults these char­ac­ters hit each other with like ma­chine gun bul­lets are funny be­cause they are all so equally de­plorable that per­haps an or­di­nar­ily iffy in­sult is less likely to of­fend.

We saw Kathy Bates turn psy­cho in Mis­ery, but this time she plays trailer trash with equal ease.

If the 13-year-old Bad Santa is still fresh in your nog­gin, this se­quel may feel like a bla­tant copy and paste, but with a bit of dis­tance some laughs can be had.

Billy Bob Thorn­ton reprises his role as a bad Santa.

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