If you were wondering what the criminal characters of Bad Santa have been up to in the past 13 years, the answer is of course not a whole lot. But now, Santa Willie (Billy Bob Thornton) and his side-kick elf Marcus (Tony Cox) are back for another Christmas and this time have their thieving eyes set on a charity fundraiser in Chicago – Willie just needs to reluctantly team up with his mum Sunny (Kathy Bates) and get real close with the charity organiser Diane (Christina Hendricks) so the gang can gain access to the lowest crime they’ve committed so far.
The return of Bad Santa sees Billy Bob Thornton and Tony Cox slipping back into their crude and vulgar roles with a lot of ease, trading even more revolting insults than before. There’s also the return of Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly), the kid from the first movie who is somehow still a kid (at 21 years old) and plays things a little too child-like, ergo contributing a lot to the film’s immature humour. Along with these returning characters is the introduction of Willie’s mum, who matches or excels in the type of vulgar repertoire between these hopeless bandits. Kathy Bates was pretty much the ideal actress for this sort of role and, like with her best performances, she gets the most mileage from a foul-mouthed character like this.
If you liked Bad Santa, then this sequel is likely to satisfy, though its humour is nowhere near as consistent as the first, which was funny from start to finish – this sequel, like 65% of all other comedies, is very funny for the first third, relatively amusing during the second third, and then seemingly not really trying to be humorous at all during the final third as the double-crossing storyline seems to take precedent over the laughs.
Every Christmas, we need a film like Bad Santa to off-set the festive joy with some unapologetic vulgarity and a lot of political incorrectness. Admittedly, if you need your humour to be more biting and insightful than just crude and lewd, then Bad Santa 2 won’t be enough. But for those looking for a seasonal comedy, then this will just about satisfy, though the screenplay really could’ve been more humorous to make the most out of its talented and funny cast.