It's been thirteen years, but us Humbuggers are finally getting the sequel to our beloved, irreverent holiday classic.
Review by Crispy
Added: December 07, 2016
Though it's been a decade and a half since Willie and Marcus were caught in Phoenix, not much has changed for the former. Sue has left him due to his out-of-control alcoholism and he's been drifting through life ever since. Sure, Therman pops up frequently but Willie does every thing he can to push the kid away. However, on his latest visit, he comes bearing news and soon Willie is sitting in a diner with his old pal Marcus. Sure, the last time they saw each other Marcus was intent on putting a bullet in him but the midget is hoping Willie can put that behind them for one more score, this one to the tune of two million dollars. An attempt on his life is one thing. Hell, he's even OK that they're planning on cleaning out a charity, but when he learns that their contact is his long estranged mother, he wants out. Still, that's a lot of money to turn down, and the trio get to work.
Let's cut to the chase. Bad Santa is well-known for its horrible irreverence, not only as it applies to Christmas but human decency as a whole. This sequel holds that status quo, so if you either loved or hated the original, you have a pretty good idea how you're going to feel about this. Now, it would have been incredibly easy to just write down a bunch of toilet, sex and midget jokes and call it a day but our filmmakers wanted to do a bit more than that. While the first movie didn't fully redeem Willie, nor should it have in my opinion, it did offer that said redemption just might be possible thanks to his relationships with Therman and Sue. Bad Santa 2 continues that theme; Therman's relentless affection continues to warm Willie's heart against his will, and I trust that it's obvious enough not to be considered a spoiler when I say that the animosity between the alcoholic Santa and his mother isn't quite so black and white. These elements have a higher presence in the sequel than it did last time, which is enough not to make it a complete rehash.
Despite such a long hiatus, Billy Bob Thornton and Tony Cox haven't missed a beat. Their chemistry is still through the roof and the addition of Kathy Bates takes it to a whole new level. Between her laughter at the pair yelling at each other and her own devastating insults, she's a perfect fit. Not that this should be a surprise to anyone; Kathy Bates has never been anything less than amazing. Balancing out the depravity is Brett Kelly's return as the innocent Therman Merman. His head-scratching intellect now explained as autism, Therman provides a much needed foil to the other characters, and as I said before, his unabashed love for Willie is what carries this movie to something other than ninety straight minutes catering to the lowest common denominator. Unfortunately, I can't say much for the other newcomers. Christina Hendricks tried to match the film's raunchiness in a more subdued manner, but it just felt forced and her flat character left me missing Lauren Graham something fierce. Finally, while our main trio were unsavory enough, every movie needs a villain, and Ryan Hansen certainly didn't fit the bill. With that said, it's hard to point the finger at the actor. I guess the filmmakers weren't even interested in trying to fill the shoes of John Ritter and Bernie Mac, and his character was reduced to tertiary levels. This was probably for the best though, since it left more time to focus on Thornton, Cox and Bates.
Bad Santa 2 is every bit as funny as the first one was. Or every bit as disgusting if that's your mindset. Basically, it's more of the same, with just enough thrown in there to prevent it being a total rehash. 7/10.