A miserable conman and his partner pose as Santa and his Little Helper to rob department stores on Christmas Eve. But they run into problems when the conman befriends a troubled kid, and the security boss discovers the plot.
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This wasn't as funny or shocking as I'd been led to believe over the last decade, but I did really like John Ritter's prissy prudishness and a few of the other actors' line readings! I didn't quite buy the attempts at pathos, but at least I've finally seen it.
Hysterically nasty dialogue and a highly entertaining performance by Billy Bob Thornton sold Bad Santa for me, but the random moments (Thornton's assault on the model donkeys and his reaction to the word "performance") made it. I thought John Ritter disappeared from the story a little too early and Lauren Graham was adorable. I seriously need to get my hands on the unrated version.
I watch this film every year for Christmas. This is a raunchy comedy with a lot of heart. Billy Bob Thornton is at his best when he is playing sleazy hapless anti-heroes with a laundry list of issues and vices.
Was skeptical of viewing a style I don't usually go for but got in the holiday spirit and gave it a watch. Pleasantly surprised! A portrait of a jaded lost man ultimately finding personal meaning in the holiday is as unoriginal as it gets but it's telling is fresh and new. Billy Bob is spot on as a perverse Santa and Bernie Mac slam dunks the film into an adult Christmas classic.
It's easy to view this as a distant cousin to "Observe and Report," as they're both grim, incredibly vulgar comedies with unsympathetic protagonists set largely in shopping malls. "Bad Santa," likely the funniest picture of the decade, works as an effective but imperfect satire of consumerism; its real joys are in watching Billy Bob Thornton, one of cinema's great actors, redeem his repulsive, child-abusing drunk.
"A movie is not about what it is about, but about how it is about it. I didn't like this movie merely because it was weird and different; I liked it because it makes no compromises and takes no prisoners. And because it is funny." - Roger Ebert. Brett Kelly is a total match for Billy Bob in this, which is as unexpected as the script's rancorous humor. 3.5 stars