Bad Santa 2 (2016)

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Critic Consensus: Loaded up with the same scatological and misanthropic humor as its predecessor but precious little of its heart or genuine wit, Bad Santa 2 presents a foulmouthed shadow of Christmas past.

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BAD SANTA 2 returns Academy Award (R)-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 (R), 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.

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Critic Reviews for Bad Santa 2

All Critics (128) | Top Critics (25)

This film is far from perfect, but it made me and some other terribly frightened folks laugh for a while in the dark.

Dec 1, 2016 | Full Review…

The whole series is based on the notion that no one is any better than his worst impulse.

Dec 1, 2016 | Full Review…

We have long hoped that there might one day be a sequel. We need to be careful what we wish for.

Nov 25, 2016 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

At its best, Bad Santa 2 feels like an echo of its predecessor. At its worst, it's unfunny, crass, and uncomfortable (not in a good way).

Nov 24, 2016 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Once-edgy jokes about Santa's vomit-caked beard, his open hostility toward children, and sexual proclivities in line with R. Crumb are now compulsory elements, like Bruce Willis saying "Yippie-ki-yay" in a Die Hard sequel.

Nov 23, 2016 | Full Review…
NPR
Top Critic

No doubt some critics will slam Bad Santa 2 as a lump of coal in our holiday movie stockings. To which I would say: why be so rough on lumps of coal?

Nov 23, 2016 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Bad Santa 2

½

Okay, so it's not as good as the original and some of it goes too far on shock value (like the horrible ending), but the characters are still good and I enjoyed watching it.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

½

It seems Hollywood is intent on making pointless remakes and sequels to movies that in way require them. The days of stand alone movies appear to be gone as literally anything can get a sequel no matter what. It doesn't even matter how the original movie ended, they will still try to wangle something out of it. Case in point, 2003 black comedy 'Bad Santa', a devilishly wicked little affair that was somewhat original and gave adults something to giggle over after the kids had gone to bed. Did this movie need a sequel? No, it was a clear stand alone movie, plain and simple, yet here we are. Believe it or not but the plot to this movie once again revolves around our protagonist Willie Soke (Billy Bob Thornton) getting into a Santa outfit, the hell you say. Believe it or not but the plot also requires Willie's old partner in crime, Marcus Skidmore (Tony Cox), to also once again join him as an elf so they can pull off a heist. Said heist simply revolves around trying to rob a charity organisation in Chicago. The only major difference with this movie is they have Willie's mother Sunny (Kathy Bates) to help them. So Willie and Marcus are going to attempt to steal all the loot from within the office of this charity organisation. Obviously in order to get into this office they are gonna need to scout around, get the lay of the land and eventually break in somehow. So what does that mean? why lots and lots of profanity, sexual acts and the usual double crossing of course. Seriously this movie has clearly gone all out to simply be more outrageous and disgusting than the original...for no real reason it seems. I don't have an issue with this if it actually made any real sense to the plot. Take Willie for instance, an alcoholic, malnourished, dirty bum with nothing to his name, yet he still manages to get handjobs from busty blondes and sex from the sexy female charity organiser (the one he's trying to steal from). Like I realise this is a dumb comedy but come on now, why would these women be attracted to this guy when he's made out to be so disgusting. Then you have Marcus, who virtually does nothing for the entire run time other than swear and look sorry for himself. Its bloody obvious this guy is still mad at Willie from the first movie and its bloody obvious he's gonna try and screw Willie over. But this guy has nothing to do here, he's merely there for size and sexual innuendo gags. OK sure he was doing the same shit in the first movie but that was the first movie. In fact I felt sorry for the guy because this time he gets turned down by a curvy lady who ends up fucking Willie! (apparently this guy is some kind of low life, homeless sexual magnet). Thurman Merman is back again too (couldn't leave this guy out) although I don't know why. Much like Marcus he does nothing for the run time (even less than Marcus), he only seems to be here again to offer redemption for Willie's character right at the end. The best thing about this movie has to be Kathy Bates as Willie's old mum Sunny. Now even though this characters inclusion is utterly groan inducing in its lack or originality, predictability and tired old cliches, I can't deny it worked to a degree. Bates fits into this role like a glove, she looks like pure overweight white trash and then some. On the other hand, when she cleans and dresses up to play Santa's wife with Willie for a gig, she looks absolutely perfect for that too. The perfect white haired old granny and the perfect leather clad biker bitch from hell! Bates is clearly having a ball letting loose here and she almost saves the film, if it wasn't for the fact that her character is so damn obvious. [i]'I smoked two packs of menthol a day, washed it down with a layer of this gin, and I could still fill this shot glass with this man's jizz'[/i] This movie is desperately short on plot and way too high on filth, its almost as if they were doing it for shock value. It wouldn't be so bad if any of it were actually amusing but most of it is either outright disgusting or plain childish. Everything and anything you could possibly imagine being seedy is in this movie, having anal sex in a dark dirty alley, your mother talking about all kinds of sexual stuff, masturbation, seeing people on the toilet, slutty girls, drunken brawls, being generally rude about fat people, casual racism, misogyny etc...Even the parts where the plot kicks into gear its incredibly stupid. Like how did they rob that mansion without ever being spotted? And could the finale be anymore flippin' predictable!! All in all this was a major miscalculation if you ask me. Yes its kinda amusing to see a drunk dishevelled Billy Bob Thornton in a Santa outfit giving little kids the beady-eye and a mouthful as they take turns sitting on his knee (easily the best part), but that's literally it. Sure its kinda amusing to see Kathy Bates acting like a cock hungry slut, swearing like a sailor whilst looking like a butch dyke, but it wears thin after the initial laughs. I won't lie and say the sex scenes didn't arouse me slightly (some good fantasy scenes in there). But I also can't deny that in the end this movie did leave me actually feeling dirty, like I needed to have a shower. A case of trying to milk the last drop of money out of a franchise? Or simply giving Thornton some much needed work? Probably both. [i]'Flouting? I never sucked jizz out of nobody's ass!'[/i]

Phil Hubbs
Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

A comedy with no reason to exist is a lousy thing and it's even worse when that comedy seems to know it, and thus is the pitiful state of Bad Santa 2, a sequel that feels far too stale. I wonder if the original movie was as enjoyable as I recall or if in the ensuing 13 years we've just become more inured to the casual vulgarity of these movies, but I was left bored by the overwhelming listlessness of this comedy. Billy Bob Thornton returns but he's generally on autopilot. The loose plot involves another score, this time engineered by his mother (Kathy Bates), but really it's mostly a hangout film with nasty characters insulting each other in painfully provocative ways. I was getting restless and the comic set pieces are to a whole poorly developed and routinely settle on the easiest joke, which is again witless shock value. There's no range, no unexpected turns, so much of the comedy falls flat, the same smutty joke repeated with little variance. Stay tuned for a tepid end credits sequence that justifies the "graphic nudity" of the rating (hopefully Snapchat does not get any ideas for the tie-in). Without a stronger plot and characters, the shock value begets diminished returns, and even my preview audience was deadly silent for long stretches. I laughed about ten times total, not enough to justify a theatrical viewing but perhaps enough to keep it on TV while folding laundry. The strange thing about a dark comedy is that it feels like all the consequences from the plot were cut in editing as several storylines and their reasons to exist fail to fully manifest. There are payoffs you anticipate that never come and storylines that seem created entirely for reasons that never arise. The most consistent comic presence is Brett Kelly replaying his now grown-up simpleton from the first movie. Kelly is the only actor who plays a different note, providing a dose of unyielding optimism that befuddles. If you're a big fan of the original and just looking for another fix perhaps Bad Santa 2 will provide enough nasty humor to satisfy. By the end I felt drained from this thoroughly pointless affair. Nate's Grade: C

Nate Zoebl
Nate Zoebl

Super Reviewer

½

It is nice to see beloved films get some more attention after many years, in order to bring in a new audience, but why can't films just be re-released in theatres as a celebration? Why do we have to receive unnecessary sequels to great films that will clearly pail in comparison? Bad Santa 2 is just another example of why some films should stay sequel-free. Don't get me wrong, I definitely enjoyed certain aspects of this film and it may please some fans of the original, but in the end, it is just as unnecessary as films like Anchorman 2 or Horrible Bosses 2. Both of those films had their share of clever moments, but ultimately fall short of their predecessors in terms of quality. Here is why Bad Santa 2 was too little too late. Having a 13 year gap to fill is a hard feat, I will give them that, but Bad Santa 2 borrows far too much humour from its predecessor, seeming too afraid of being original enough to bring in a fresh audience. If more films could make sequels that have fresh stories in order to draw in a new audience, that would be great, but this formula seems to be overdone nowadays. Finding the same core characters doing the same thing they did in the first film already feels stale, but Willie has given up wanting to be Santa, Marcus doesn't even seem to be interested in this particular storyline, and Thurman just seems to have gotten dumber as time went on. There are some clever jokes here and there, but most of the film rehashes things viewers found funny the first time around, which comes off as lazy. In a film filled with many cliches and tropes rehashing the original film, it is a breath of fresh air every time the character of Thurman Merman is on screen. Sure, in this film they make him much dumber than he ever was, which felt annoying at times, but his characters arc in this film actually brought a tear to my eye. Brett Kelly's chemistry with Billy Bob Thornton is something to savour throughout this film, as they are the only thing that brings any holiday cheer to this lazy premise. Sure, the addition of Christina Hendricks was nice and her off-putting character went very well alongside Billy Bob Thornton, but it really isn't enough to say that this film is worth paying to see. If you are to venture to the cinema to see this film, the payoff between Thurman and Willie will be worth the wait. Bad Santa 2 brings on Mark Waters to direct, and while his filmography can either be hit or miss from Mean Girls all the way down to Vampire Academy, he did seem like a proper fit if anyone was going to fill these shoes. On top of that, aside from a couple of projects, the writers in Johnny Rosenthal and Shauna Cross felt like a safe gamble. Sadly, their first impression left a pretty lukewarm taste in my mouth. It was almost as if they watched the first film on a loop and tried to create the same magic, but without a few core characters that are sadly no longer with us. Having too much drama and crude humour is never a good thing, especially when you are trying to set yourself apart from a film that is a classic for those reasons alone. There were so many missed opportunities for better jokes throughout the course of this film. I have chosen to leave out aspects involving Kathy Bates' character, due to the fact that she came off as more of an annoying side character that ended up forcing laughs on the audience. There are numerous annoyances throughout this film, but only due to the fact that they tarnished the past. I have become such a fan of the original film that I was destined to be underwhelmed by Bad Santa 2, even though my expectations were astronomically low. In the end, there are some great character moments in Thurman and Willie, as well as a few laugh-out-loud gags, but the rest of the film relies too heavily on nostalgia and using curse words, that the film begins to wear out by the final act, which is a little too dark for its own good. Bad Santa 2 shows absolutely no reason why it was made, except to display a little bit of heart for the holiday season. It is by no means a bad film, but I will take the original over this sequel any day of the week. Its intentions are there, but there just isn't enough material left to create a franchise. For fans of the original, you will probably find quite a few jokes, and for that reason, I can recommend it, but as a whole, it just isn't that great of a film. This film is a rental at best and would have been better as a Blu-Ray/DVD release.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

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