“Bad Santa 2” stars Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates, Tony Cox, Brett Kelly, and Christina Hendricks. Released on November 23, 2016, the film has Willie Soke reuniting with his former partner, Marcus Skidmore, to rob a Chicago charity.
The film is directed by Mark Waters, who also directed films such as Freaky Friday, Mean Girls, Just Like Heaven, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, and Vampire Academy. It is a sequel to the 2003 black comedy film, Bad Santa. Long-awaited comedy sequels can be tricky to sell, especially since Hollywood waited until at least a decade to make one. What really makes it harder for them is the fact that they often failed to live up to the same expectations as their well-received predecessors. Some good examples for this are Dumb and Dumber To (which I liked) and Zoolander 2 (which I didn’t like). “Bad Santa 2” marks the latest addition to that said list. I saw the first Bad Santa film the other day in order to understand what to expect from the sequel, and it was pretty decent despite all of the cussing and sexual references. This film offers exactly what its predecessor had, but like the other long-awaited sequels, it didn’t live up to its predecessor that much.
Most of the cast members reprised their respective roles from the original, including Billy Bob Thornton as Willie, Tony Cox as Marcus, and Brett Kelly as Thurman, Willie’s “friend”. I have not seen Thornton in a film in a while since last year’s Our Brand is Crisis. Like the first film, he fits the character well in terms of his drinking habits and his stubbornness. The cast worked pretty well together, but I wouldn’t call them “memorable”. If you’ve seen Bad Santa, then you’re going to know what to expect from its sequel: R-rated language, drinking, sexual humor, and a couple of offensive comments about people with dwarfism, mostly Marcus. This movie has it all, but at some parts, those qualities overstayed its welcome. I felt that the movie is trying a bit too hard to make people laugh with its non-stop cussing and sexual content. Now, don’t get me wrong, there were some scenes that made me laugh, but the rest of the humor didn’t really hit my funny bone that much. The story also wasn’t having a good time balancing the film’s R-rated crass with some Christmas cheer, including the relationship between Willie and his mother, played by Kathy Bates, who I thought was pretty good in the role. There were some parts in the film that should’ve been played out better, like the reunification of Willie and Marcus, who (spoiler alert for those who haven’t seen the first film) tried to kill him because of Willie’s carelessness. There wasn’t any kind of build-up for this scene. One minute, there was a scene with Willie and Thurman, the next, there was Willie and Marcus. Either I’m just as drunk as Willie is, or the direction for it was mediocre.
Overall, “Bad Santa 2” joins the list of long-awaited comedy sequels that failed to deliver what made the predecessors special. While the actors put on one heck of a show as their respective characters, the amount of crass, booze, sex, and mean-spiritedness overshadows the story’s Christmas spirit. If you don’t mind the amount of R-rated material in this film and its predecessor and just want something to laugh at, then I would say it’s worth watching once at a matinee price or on television, but please, for the love of all that is good, do not bring your child to this movie. I’m serious, I saw someone with a child, who looks to be under six, seeing this film, and I was like, “Are you kidding me?” Out of all the movies that are already out, including Moana and Trolls, they took your kid to this? I’m sorry, but that person should be on Santa’s naughty list, along with this film. As for me, I wouldn’t mind seeing it again if it’s playing on television. At the theater? Eh...not so much.