‘Bad Santa 2’ comes a decade too late
“Bad Santa 2” is 92 minutes of untimely jokes and acts of sex, alcoholism, racism and child neglect.
“Bad Santa 2” stars Billy Bob Thornton as Willie Soke, a miserable alcoholic and sex addict who travels to Chicago to try and rob a children’s Christmas charity with partner in crime Marcus Skidmore (Tony Cox) and his estranged mother Sunny Soke (Kathy Bates). Willie takes a job as a curb-side Santa asking for Christmas donations as part of a major plot to rob the charity and take all the donations in for himself and his sidekicks.
The plot thickens; however, when Willie’s addiction to alcohol and sex gets him in trouble with the leader of the charity, Diane (Christina Hendricks) and threatens to cause the entire mission to go awry.
“Bad Santa 2” shouldn’t be knocked too much for its poorly timed release, but even if the movie had been released a decade earlier, it would still be incredibly disappointing. Willie’s character is trudging through everything so nihilistically, that it’s painful to watch him clumsily and bitterly proceed through his life in his vomit-streaked Santa suit.
As opposed to something fresh, “Bad Santa 2” feels like a Christmas present that is really just a hand-me-down, that we all know has been re-wrapped at least once. The film borrows all the ingredients from its 2003 predecessor, but it seems like the recipe got mixed-up somehow, as the final product ends up being just a nasty mixture of profanity that tends to overshadow the film’s scattered bright moments.
One of those few bright spots though, is Thurman Merman, played wonderfully by Brett Kelley. Kelley returns to the fold to play the overweight, naïve Thurman, but now as a 21-year-old “adult,” instead of the 8-year-old child from the first film.
His character arch, virtually the only character arch in the entire film, remains as a man who follows Willie around everywhere, just wanting the Soke family to return the love that he has for them. This gives the audience a rare taste of positivity; a few bright moments in what is otherwise an exercise in dreariness. Willie even almost cracks a smile when he watches Thurman sing with the choir at the charity just before he attempts to make a crack at the safe.
I was glad to be sitting in solitude while watching this movie. Depressing and humorless, “Bad Santa 2” is far more cringe-worthy than funny.
Tyler Movsessian can be reached at email@example.com.