Bad sequel offensive in its mediocrity
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.