‘Bad Santa 2’ is just plain bad

The world’s a much different place than it was 13 years ago.

Heck, it’s a much different place than it was 13 days ago.

So while the sight of a smoking, drinking, swearing Saint Nick with a penchant for changing-room sex with heavyset gals seemed outrageous in 2003’s “Bad Santa,” the makers of “Bad Santa 2” had more than a decade’s worth of shock humor to try to top.

The result is just unpleasant from beginning to end.

The redemption and happy ending that career criminal Willie Soke (Billy Bob Thornton) earned after being shot eight times in the back by the police in “Bad Santa” have long since abandoned him. “You see, you can only puke in somebody’s lap so many times,” he says of the end of his relationship with Sue (Lauren Graham).

Willie’s at the end of his rope — literally, he’s trying to hang himself after putting his head in an electric oven didn’t do the job — when Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly) shows up to celebrate his 21st birthday. The sandwich-obsessed Thurman has fulfilled his destiny as a “full-time sandwich consultant” at Hungry Hoagies, and he still keeps in touch with Willie, much to the latter’s dismay. But Willie’s ears perk up when Thurman mentions a package full of cash that was delivered to the house they once shared.

That package leads Willie to a meeting with Marcus (Tony Cox), his former partner in holiday crime, who tried to kill him the last time they were together. Still, the lure of a $2 million score is enough to make Willie follow Marcus to Chicago only to learn he’s been duped. Twice.

First, the job involves knocking over a charity, run by the benevolent Diane (“Mad Men’s” Christina Hendricks) and her sleazy husband, Regent (Ryan Hansen). Second, their “inside man” on the job is Willie’s estranged mom, Sunny (Kathy Bates). Immediately upon seeing her, Willie punches her square in the jaw.

The new filmmaking team, director Mark Waters (“Mean Girls”) and screenwriters Shauna Cross (“If I Stay”) and newcomer Johnny Rosenthal, don’t seem to understand the inherent appeal of the original “Bad Santa.” Sure, it was over the top. But so many of the laughs came from Thornton’s exasperated reactions to the craziness surrounding him. There also was a layer of genuine heart beating just below its grimy surface.


 

Instead, “Bad Santa 2” is little more than a string of crude, largely unprintable, one-liners that feel more like they belong in an outtakes reel than a legitimate movie. Upon seeing an ugly baby while bell-ringing for the charity, Marcus, Sunny and Willie try to top each other with a barrage of insults that culminates with “I guess the abortion didn’t take.”

The new creative team — assuming you can stretch the word “creative” to include something like “Bad Santa 2” — also seems to think anal sex is the funniest thing ever.

Look, I like outrageous filth as much as the next guy — as long as it’s clever outrageous filth. And the next guy isn’t a member of ISIS.

But almost none of “Bad Santa 2” works.

People tend to forget that Thornton was nominated for a Golden Globe for the original “Bad Santa.” He and Kathy Bates both have Oscars, as does Octavia Spencer, who reprises her role as Opal the prostitute. They’re all too good for this. Heck, David Correa, the kid credited as playing Peeing Boy, is too good for this.

The deaths of original co-stars Bernie Mac and John Ritter have left a huge void that can’t be filled simply by adding more scenes of Willie having sex in back alleys and in a Christmas tree lot a Douglas fir away from a family with young, curious children.

Much like the similar “Ted,” once you’ve seen something that’s supposed to be sweet and innocent be vile and raunchy, the novelty has worn off by the second go round.

As a result, you can add “Bad Santa 2” to the list of 2016’s long-delayed, why-bother sequels that already includes “Blair Witch,” “Bridget Jones’s Baby,” “Independence Day: Resurgence,” “Inferno,” “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” and “Zoolander 2.”

I’d say “Bad Santa 2” was a lump of coal in your Christmas stocking, but a lump of coal has actual value.

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com. On Twitter: @life_onthecouch.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Recycled Art and Cute Dogs at Summerlin Festival Of Arts
Recycled Art, Cute Dogs Abound At Summerlin Festival Of Arts (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jason Aldean talks about the possibility of a Las Vegas residency
Country superstar Jason Aldean discusses his feelings about playing in Las Vegas and says he'd be interested in a Las Vegas residency when the time is right at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018.(John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who To Watch At Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful Setup
Workers preparing Fremont street for this weekend's Life is Beautiful festival, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like