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Bad Santa 2 Review

"Bad Santa 2 tries, but fails miserably trying to capture the magic of the first."

Bad Santa 2 is the sequel to the 2003 comedy hit starring Billy Bob Thornton returning as Willie, the alcoholic vulgar Santa for hire, who is once again, plotting to rob his unsuspecting employers blind on Christmas.

To briefly recap the first film, Willie is a drinking, sex addicted, potty-mouthed thief who poses as a Santa for hire during Christmas in order to gain access to the company’s security system and steal all of their cash. While working at the mall, he meets an innocent, but dimwitted 8-year old named Thurman Murman (Brett Kelly) who manages accept and love Willie despite his obvious shortcomings. Willie also finds his version of love with a Santa-obsessed bartender played by Lauren Graham, but in the end is double-crossed by his partner, Marcus (Tony Cox), who shoots him 8 times. The sequel picks up 11 years later and sadly very little in Willie’s life has changed.
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Willie is still very much a loser. Thurman, now 21, is still chubby, blonde and dim. And Marcus, arriving from a 10-year prison stint, recruits Willie for one more job. This time they are joined by an old acquaintance named Sunny (Kathy Bates), who has a long history with Willie and is somehow even more horrible than he is. All three plot to rob a charity where Sunny is working, but because they’re all degenerates, hijinks ensue.

In short, Bad Santa 2  is not remotely close to being as good as the first. The first film had better pacing, a better story, and funnier dialogue. It is a superior film that manages to make the lead character a deplorable human being, yet still  funny without much effort. Here, the writers tried to upped the vulgarity to make Willie funny, and it results in the opposite effect. This is apparent especially in his scenes with Bates. Marcus, the little person/elf to Willie’s Santa, is completely pointless here. The first film would not have worked without his character. He ran the operation, had great comebacks to Willie’s insults, and his size was not the focus of character. Here, he is the result of what seems like of endless stream of dwarf jokes.

BS2-05175_CROP (l-r) Billy Bob Thornton stars as Willie Soke and Brett Kelly as Thurman Merman in BAD SANTA 2, a Broad Green Pictures release. Credit: Jan Thijs / Broad Green PicturesThe biggest problem with this film by far is the Thurman Murman character. In the first film, he is a child. The chubbiness, combined with the blond curly hair, and the dim-wittedness is charming and his affection for Willie makes sense. Here, as a grown man in his early 20s, those qualities are creepy. The fact that Thurman and Willie still have the exact same relationship eleven years later, comes off strange. Thurman is shoehorned into several scenes, unnecessarily. His character was an integral part of Willie’s growth in the first Bad Santa, but the writing is so lazy in Bad Santa 2 that writers have to scrounge and find a way to make Thurman travel cross country for no reason, other than so he and Willie can have scenes together.

The most accurate word to describe Bad Santa 2 is unnecessary. This sequel is so unnecessary and it is apparent every single moment that one spends watching it. The writers could not come up with a plausible reason for these characters to interact with each other again, so they created this sloppy heist and basically copied the major plot points from the first film.

Bad Santa 2 is not particularly funny.  It is best to skip it and watch the first film. It is all that the second movie is trying to be anyway.

Rating
6.1
Pros
  • A couple of laughs, solely from Thornton and Bates
Cons
  • Not funny.
  • Vulgar for no other purpose than shock value
  • Many characters are not needed

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