Bad se­quel of­fen­sive in its medi­ocrity

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No, the first Bad Santa wasn’t a great work of art.

But it took a sin­gle joke – the worst Santa ever – and made some­thing agree­ably twisted of out of it.

For any cur­mud­geons who would pre­fer a lump of coal in their stock­ing than to par­tic­i­pate in heart­warm­ing fes­tive cheer, Billy Bob Thorn­ton’s mem­o­rably cranky per­for­mance as Wil­lie Soke, a sex­ist, al­co­holic, thiev­ing mis­an­thrope, was the ideal whiskey-soaked respite.

This se­quel, ar­riv­ing like a grubby gift no wanted some 13 years later, re­peats the same schtick all over again, but ups the ante in politi­cal in­cor­rect­ness to a de­gree that’s fright­en­ingly dull.

Bad Santa 2 can’t help but feel ex­hausted, com­ing af­ter a whole gen­er­a­tion of Bad Teach­ers, Bad Moms, Dirty Grand­pas, and other gar­den-va­ri­ety Todd Phillips/ Judd Apa­tow gross-out joints.

From the end­less stream of pro­fan­i­ties to the now-stan­dard end cred­its ‘‘shock­ing photo roll’’ gag, the film is aw­fully des­per­ate in its de­sire to make us gasp.

Bad Kathy Bates is oc­ca­sion­ally fun, how­ever.

As Wil­lie’s butch, tat­ted-up long-lost mother Sunny, she’s a wel­come snarling ball of vil­lainy who’s some­how even more mon­strous than him. But there’s a limit to how much the writ­ers can wrest out of her char­ac­ter.

When you get to the point where Bates is tak­ing a crap while watch­ing The Bach­e­lor, the nov­elty’s worn off.

Over­long, and crim­i­nally un­funny, Bad Santa 2’ s mix of lazily-writ­ten caper an­tics, breasts and but­tocks-ogling sleaze and un­earned, third-act re­demp­tion arcs is only of­fen­sive in its medi­ocrity.

– Aaron Yap


Bad Santa 2 (R16) Di­rected by Mark Wa­ters Star­ring Billy Bob Thorn­ton, Kathy Bates, Tony Cox 92 mins

Even the charis­matic pres­ence of Kathy Bates can’t lift Bad Santa 2 to any great heights.

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