February 14, 2017

Blu-Ray Review: BAD SANTA 2

Starring Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates, Tony Cox, Christina Hendricks, Brett Kelly, Jenny Zigrino, Ryan Hansen, Octavia Spencer. Directed by Mark Waters. (2016, 92/95 min).

No, we did not need a Bad Santa sequel. The original film's premise is something that is really effective only once, when sheer audacity, mean-spiritedness and loads of politically incorrect vulgarity catches the audience off guard. But along the abundance of sex, expletives and criminally antisocial behavior, Bad Santa had enough genuine humor and heart to render it a minor holiday classic. Any follow-up would be an exercise in redundancy.

Bad Santa 2 is not only redundant; it comes 13 years later, which should be plenty of time to come up with something new to do with its characters. Instead, it's business as usual, with Kathy Bates (as Willie's mother) thrown in to out-swear, out-drink, out-shit and out-gross the rest of the cast. The plot this time is a Christmastime robbery of a charity organization, which of course requires Willie (Billy Bob Thornton) to throw the Santa suit back on.

Billy Bob meets Steve Bannon.
The cast is certainly game, which includes Tony Cox and Brett Kelly (now older, larger and just as developmentally challenged) revisiting to their most famous roles. Christina Hendricks is sort-of wasted as Willie's new sparring/sex partner, while Bates at-least appears to be having an uninhibited good time

Unfortunately, what was hilariously shocking over a decade ago isn't as fresh and funny when we know what to expect, though more-of-the-same may be exactly what some viewers want. Like the original, Bad Santa 2 revels in sex, bad taste, f-bomb-loaded dialogue and overall decadence. Admittedly, sometimes it's amusing. More often, however, other than attempts to up the ante in the raunch department, this is like hearing your drunken uncle tell the same filthy joke for the umpteenth time.

FEATURETTES: "Thurman Then & Now"; "Just Your Average Red Band Featurette" (title tells all)
"JINGLE BALLS" - A musical montage of many of the film's expletives

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