Bad Santa was raunchy, black humor at its darkest and yet managed to have heart. When I heard that a second movie was being made, I wondered if it would manage to retain that same dark comedy and that touch of sweetness. And it did manage to bring those elements to play in Bad Santa 2.
The sequel reunites Billy Bob Thornton as conman Willie Tugboat Sokes with his angry sidekick, Marcus Skidmore (Tony Cox). Marcus convinces Willie, who has hit rock bottom after attempting to commit suicide via electric oven, to join him in Chicago to steal money from a charity on Christmas Eve. Once there, Willie finds out that the third person on the team is none other than his mother, Sunny Sokes (Kathy Bates), an ex-con who taught Willie all he knows. Meanwhile, back in California, Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly) has reached the age of 21 but is still the bright, irrepressible goodhearted soul from the first movie. He has kept in touch with Willie but when he finds out Willie is in Chicago for Christmas, he heads there to join him.
In the midst of the heist plans, Willie connects with the head of the charity, Diane (Christina Hendricks), who becomes his new love interest, despite being married. She gives Willie a second chance when he messes up and convinces him to go to AA. Willie manages to convince her to have sex with him but her husband, Regent (Ryan Hansen) gets suspicious and tries to figure out what Willie is planning. All of this comes to a culmination on Christmas Eve.
The raunchiness of the first movie is here, sarcasm and insults abound between Willie, Marcus, and Sunny. Billy Bob Thornton plays his role to perfection, bringing a sense of self-loathing to the part and drunken encounters with most of the women in the movie. The self-loathing makes you buy that he would have shot downhill since the first film which is good since the premise of the sequel requires him to be close to rock bottom. Marcus is mean and sarcastic. Kathy Bates is a great and humorous addition to the cast and makes you glad she’s not your mother. But she plays the role with just enough heart to make it believable that Willie would go soft and try to help her. But the actor that steals the show for me is Brett Kelly as Thurman. He is bright-eyed and delivers every line with perfect timing and a gentle heart. He also has some of the best lines in the movie, such as telling Willie that he is the family he picks and he came to Chicago because he didn’t want Willie to spend Christmas alone. And it is lines like this that elevate this film just slightly from just another raunchy, stereotypical movie.
The story is very predictable and it is similar to the first movie. In a way, that’s good because that’s most likely what fans of the first movie will be looking for and they won’t be disappointed. But if you’re looking for something new or innovative, this is not the movie for you. It is funny and had both me and my husband laughing but there is nothing original here. The other note, if you have children, this movie has an R rating for a reason. I highly suggest adults only.
If you like the first movie, you will like this one. They kept the dark comedy very similar and Thurman’s character brings the heart. If you like raunchy, dark humor, go check it out. The writers do a great job of giving you enough about the first movie that you don’t have to have seen it to enjoy this one. It appeals to the bad person in all of us but what else can you expect from a movie titled Bad Santa 2. It gave me exactly what I expected and I was laughing even when it was over.
Rating: 3.5 stars
BAD SANTA 2 returns Academy Award®-winner BILLY BOB THORNTON to the screen as America’s favorite anti-hero, Willie Soke. Fueled by cheap whiskey, greed and hatred, Willie teams up once again with his angry little sidekick, Marcus (TONY COX), to knock off a Chicago charity on Christmas Eve. Along for the ride is ‘the kid’ – chubby and cheery Thurman Merman (BRETT KELLY), a 250-pound ray of sunshine who brings out Willie’s sliver of humanity. Mommy issues arise when the pair are joined by Academy Award®, Golden Globe and Emmy-winner KATHY BATES, as Willie’s horror story of a mother, Sunny Soke. A super butch super bitch, Sunny raises the bar for the gang’s ambitions, while somehow lowering the standards of criminal behavior. Willie is further burdened by lusting after the curvaceous and prim Diane, played by Emmy Award-nominee CHRISTINA HENDRICKS, the charity director with a heart of gold and libido of steel. You better watch out: BAD SANTA 2 is coming to town.
Cast: Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates, Christina Hendricks, Tony Cox, Brett Kelly, Ryan Hansen, Jenny Zigrino, Jeff Skowron
Director: Mark Waters
Writers: Johnny Rosenthal, Doug Ellin and Shauna Cross