Billy Bob Thornton plays skeletal Willie T Stokes, a safecracker and alcoholic. He is also a chubby chaser, hates kids, loves anal sex and, oh yeah, he dresses up as Santa Claus as part of an ongoing criminal master plan by his diminutive boss, Marcus (Tony Cox). They jobs every year at different malls across the country which they rob blind come Christmas Eve. After a bold claim that his last job will be his last job, Thornton is called back for one more job in Phoenix.
The Coen Brothers produced Bad Santa has a cult following, which translates as no one went to see it at the cinema. It attracts people with it promises of foul language, potty humour and dwarves getting punched in the balls. Underneath all this though is the story of of a man realising too late that his life has turned to shit. Or maybe he’s always known and just thinks it’s too late to change.
Lauren Graham enters his life as Sue; an equally messed bar-tender. After a quick hook-up in a car park, the two begin a relationship that could, in some perverse way, be classed as love. If fucking a man because he dresses up as Santa can be classed as love.
An obese ten year old called Thurman (Brett Kelly) is another addition to Thornton’s life. So willing to believe that Thornton truly is Santa, he invites him into his home to live. Brett Kelly plays Thurman with such wide-eyed innocence that you wonder if he even knew was in a film at all.
With his new boil in the bag family, Thornton begins to question the point of his life and what it means to be human. And I don’t mean that in a bullshit, Bagger Vance, isnt’ life wonderful kind of way… As previously stated, there is a lot of punching in the balls. It also has Bernie Mac as a possibly gay security guard leading to one of the best insults involving a 15th century artist ever!
Bad Santa ensures the jokes are plentiful and very rarely do they not hit the mark. In fact, I struggle to think of one joke that didn’t make me laugh.The ending is triumph in hitting all the right notes of a festive movie without drowning in syrup.
Don’t wait until Christmas to watch this. Grab the DVD, crack open a bottle of Jim Beam and enjoy one of the finest comedies in the last ten years. You deserve it. It’s been a busy week.