Reviews: Bad Santa

Bad Santa 2: No No No

... It's like 'Ho ho ho' but with 'No'. So... you get the idea.

I have lived a life of many regrets, and one of the biggest is my TVTropes review of Bad Santa. You can look it up if you want to see an example of how not to write a review. I cover no positives, imply that if you like Willie at all, you're mentally unwell, and overall I'm far too harsh on the film. Bad Santa made me laugh a bit - the scene where Willie, Marcus and The Kid all kick each other in the balls isn't going to win any Oscars, but it's funny! The plot is original, as are the characters, and Kenny from Frasier is in it for a bit. I still wouldn't really consider myself a fan, but it deserves more praise than I gave it.

And nothing made me realise this more than watching Bad Santa 2.

Bad Santa 2 is one of those films that's just a rehash of the original, but worse. I thought Bad Santa ended too happily given that Willie was (mostly) a piece of shit, and the writers must've agreed with me, because Bad Santa 2 opens with Willie having lost his new job, his girlfriend, and he tries to kill himself in the first minute. But then he teams back up with Marcus, the dwarf from the first one, and he has to dress up as Santa so they can rob a place and - look, I understand that he has to be a Bad Santa, but could he do it in a way that isn't just the first film again?

Well, there are two differences. Kathy Bates from Misery is the third crook and also Willie's estranged mother, and secondly, they're robbing a charity this time. So, um, erring on the side of very unsympathetic comedy protagonists. But it's ok, because the husband of the woman who is running the charity has a scene where he says he's going to steal the money anyway, and then I think he fucks a shoe. I swear that's not a joke, and I mean that in every single sense of 'not a joke'.

Many things in the film are not jokes. The Vulgar Humor from the first film is back with a vengeance and it's just not funny. Willie's Mum tells him about how she used to chew up caramels and spit them in his mouth, and if that made you go 'Ew', then you would fit in well in the audience of the about-10%-full cinema that I saw Bad Santa 2 at. Also, the dwarf says he fucked a security guard's wife and the security guard says 'Ha, joke's on you, my wife's dead!' and then the dwarf says 'Yeah, I thought her pussy was tighter than normal.' Which is actually close to being a joke because if you just stop at the security guard proudly saying that his wife is dead then that's funny. I'm not saying this to demean my upbringing, but I first heard a 'I Banged Your Mom!' 'But she's dead!' 'So?' joke when I was 13. 13 year olds wrote this script.

Bad Santa 2 accomplishes exactly one thing, and that's making you realise all of the things that Bad Santa did well. I just wish more of them were present.

Bad Santa: Bad Movie

Bad Santa isn't the worst movie I've ever seen, and I admit it could be highly enjoyable to people who don't find the following features so irritating, but for me, the movie combined four tropes that I have a hard time putting up with.

Villain Protagonist: Putting it nicely, Willie is a terrible human being who survives on thievery and luck. To put it bluntly, he's a whiny, self-loathing, alcoholic shit who things seem to go surprisingly well for. He steals a car, a house, and gets a hot girlfriend with a Santa fetish within half an hour.

Idiot Plot: This is a movie where it's easier to assume that it takes place on a planet identical to Earth but with different laws and social norms. Willie isn't a Bad Santa - he's the worst Santa in the world. The idea that he could hold onto the job for more than 5 minutes is laughable, even if his boss fears repercussions for firing his sidekick of the movie, a black dwarf. Willie wouldn't be fired - he'd be arrested.

Vulgar Humor: My problem isn't that most of the humor is lowbrow or that they swear a lot; it's that none of these things tie in to any actual form of humor. Just because the movie's named 'Bad Santa' doesn't mean you can make half of the scenes about what a horrible Santa this guy is, and then just reuse the punchline of 'Get it? It's funny because he's a bad Santa!' It gets really old, really fast.

And spoiler alert for the last one.

Karma Houdini: Without going into too much detail, the big robbery this year doesn't go as planned and Willie is shot as he tries to bring a little boy the present he wanted. If the movie had ended here, I actually would've liked it - there's something fitting about a horrible jackass being shot while he tries to finish the only decent thing he's ever done. But of course it isn't fatal, and Willie gets a happy ending because the police shouldn't have shot him, despite him being at a crime scene, fleeing them with no explanation, and running into a stranger's house, for all they know, to grab a hostage. He becomes a better person and pays no penalty for the multiple criminal acts he's committed throughout the whole movie, plentiful and severe though they are.

If you ever find yourself rooting for this 'Bad Santa', I fear for your mental stability.