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Overall Rating
3.86

Awesome37.67%
Worth A Look: 36.99%
Average: 8.22%
Pretty Bad: 7.53%
Total Crap: 9.59%

9 reviews, 92 user ratings


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Bad Santa
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Rob Gonsalves

"Merry fuckin' Christmas. Now get the fuck away from me, kid."
5 stars

"Bad Santa" is to Christmas what "Bad Lieutenant" was to cops. I'll go out on a limb and rank it right up there with "Scrooged" (only less stylish, and without the incomparable Bill Murray, who was once considered for this movie) in the admittedly small subgenre of anti-holiday comedies.

The film's success (or failure) really begins and ends with Billy Bob Thornton, and if you don't get tired of watching him sitting in a grubby Santa suit and growling "What the fuck do you want?" to the latest kid unlucky enough to park on his piss-stained lap (it never got old for me), this is your movie this season. Merry Christmas.

Thornton is Willie T. Stokes, a drunken, foulmouthed loser who wearily dons the Santa suit each December for whatever shopping mall is desperate enough to hire him. His partner, the diminutive Marcus (Tony Cox), is a black elf with white pointy ears. Willie and Marcus have a lucrative scam: along with Marcus' greedy wife Lois (Lauren Tom), they break into their mall employer's safe after hours, make off with thousands of dollars, and head south until it's time to do it all over again.

This year, however, throws Willie a chubby curveball, in the form of a neglected, pathetic kid (Brett Kelly, likable without being cutesy) who adopts Willie as a kind of surrogate Santa Dad. Willie will have none of this, even when he's forced to move in with the kid and his decrepit grandma (Cloris Leachman). Yet some shred of decency begins to dawn in Willie's booze-soaked heart. Without losing his disreputable, ornery edge -- he's still a drunk and a thief -- Thornton enacts a slow, grudging turnaround that's believable precisely because Willie is such an asshole. The movie is less about gaining the Christmas spirit than about defying the corporate ethos (personified by the mall's mealy-mouthed manager, smoothly played by John Ritter in his final screen appearance) that hijacks and then abandons that spirit every year.

This is likely the closest that director Terry Zwigoff (of the brilliant documentary Crumb and 2001's quirky comedy-drama Ghost World) will ever come to a mainstream movie: Bad Santa opened on 2,005 screens, for Christ's sake. Yet, like Thornton, Zwigoff doesn't sell out. Peppering the soundtrack with liberal satirical appropriation of dusty classical Christmas music, Zwigoff crafts the sort of vulgar, deadpan-funny fable even Robert Crumb might chuckle at. His taste in supporting actors remains first-rate: Bernie Mac appears as the mall's corrupt head of security (who has a unique approach to reprimanding a shoplifting kid); Lauren Graham, in a far cry from her rather more innocent role on Gilmore Girls, scores as a bartender with (to Willie's bemused surprise) a Santa fetish; Ajay Naidu (Office Space) and Matt Walsh (Upright Citizens Brigade) turn up for quick, memorable bits.

But it all comes back to Billy Bob, who owns this movie the way Murray owned Scrooged -- an unrepentant shitheel who finds himself, by the end, risking death to deliver a pink stuffed elephant to the kid. Though not officially credited, Joel and Ethan Coen reportedly devised the film's original story (their names are on the movie as executive producers), and I bet they got the idea while directing Thornton as the stoic, humorless barber in The Man Who Wasn't There.

I have a mental image of them on the set, putting a Santa hat on a sour-faced Billy Bob and laughing as they realized there could be a movie in that.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8367&reviewer=416
originally posted: 12/23/06 12:53:08
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User Comments

3/01/11 Captain Slog Best Xmas movie ever made 5 stars
12/13/10 MP Bartley When Santa came down the motherfucking chimney, he brought this motherfucking great film. 5 stars
10/18/09 Chad Dillon Cooper A new Christmas classic. I ho ho hoed my A$$ off 4 stars
10/15/09 art WHO NEED"S THIS?,<IT"S REALLY PITIFUL! 1 stars
5/18/09 art BAD IS RIGHT! 2 stars
11/17/08 Samantha Pruitt incredibly raunchy and funny, that Billy Bob does a great job! 4 stars
10/11/08 Annie G Great concept, but poorly executed. Even a Scrooge like me says ‘blah’ 2 stars
5/02/08 art A BRUTAL AND MEAN SPIRTED YET A FUNNY AND< TOUCHING FILM 5 stars
3/03/08 ladavies A guilty pleasure. 4 stars
2/01/08 Bonny S. It had a few good laughs, but kinda stupid. 3 stars
10/16/07 fools&#9835;gold Violence is beautiful and real. This is realistic and funny - if only it was more fresh! 3 stars
6/16/07 al smith so crude and funny.billy bob is awesome 5 stars
3/24/07 mb Nothing There 1 stars
12/22/06 MP Bartley When Santa came down the motherfucking comedy he brought a motherfucking good comedy. 4 stars
11/06/06 Chris Bad santa bad movie 1 stars
1/21/06 eTourist Raunchy, Profane, Perverted, Seditious ... and ... Perfect 5 stars
1/08/06 gerry dunne why is there so much violence in american films? 2 stars
9/12/05 Total Crap Hands Down. The funniest movie ever. Wait till your find out the kid's name. 5 stars
8/11/05 ES funny movie, great main character, so many cool scenes 4 stars
6/18/05 Charlie This is the next "Christmas Story"! 5 stars
5/09/05 JFK not to funny, but entertaining.the end sucks 4 stars
4/11/05 gasml laughed the whole movie, brilliant 5 stars
3/25/05 indrid cold Good for several bellylaughs, but really not much to it. 4 stars
3/12/05 Edler It is missing some. The crudest is overdone at time. The kid is great though! 3 stars
12/24/04 Hugh Janus If you missed the point of this masterpeice, its your fuckin loss 5 stars
12/14/04 Taylor Fladgate Bad Santa? Bad idea, bad movie. 1 stars
12/13/04 Landshark Willie is to Santas what Shakes was to clowns...Zwigoff never gets candyassed. 4 stars
12/10/04 Jason Kaul Get past the language and overall crudeness, and this film has a lot of heart. 4 stars
12/05/04 Kristina Williams THIS is an Xmas movie! 5 stars
11/22/04 Melissa Way funnier than I expected. I laughed (and even cryed) at sweet Therman Merman 4 stars
11/11/04 David Johnson A great black comedy, ... for anyone needing their fix of "BAH HUMBUG"!!! 4 stars
10/30/04 Sherman McMerman FUNNIEST MOVIE IVE EVER SEEN I love the part when throws da clock and yells FUCK U 3 times 5 stars
8/30/04 Geo78665 Some laughs, but too one-note. Where did all the great reviews come from? 3 stars
8/18/04 Anthony G one of the worst movies I have ever seen, FUCK THIS SHIT. 1 stars
8/08/04 DH 4th grade attempt at satire--so lame! 1 stars
8/05/04 Chris it made me laugh, and it was an okay movie. not the greatest ive seen though. 3 stars
8/04/04 ownerofdajoint THIS MOVIE IS A FUCKING HOOT!!GO FUCKING GET IT ! 4 stars
7/31/04 Tom with the talent in this movie, I was hoping for much better results 1 stars
7/28/04 Mike Devans hilarious 5 stars
7/08/04 Simon Khalil I'd comment but I'M ON MY FUCKING LUNCH BREAK!! 4 stars
6/11/04 T. Maj Holiday-temed black comedy--great genre! 4 stars
6/08/04 Jon Hillarious 5 stars
5/11/04 Z F Funny as hell, +best little-person role since Year of Living Dangerously 5 stars
4/04/04 da hood i liked it! good halloween movie! 5 stars
3/26/04 LIAM JACKSON santa fucking a woman in the ass? right.... 4 stars
1/24/04 bender funny as hell. 4 stars
1/21/04 John B. Worst movie I've ever seen 1 stars
1/16/04 Ralph R. Clemente Liked it a lot - funny in a sick kind of way 4 stars
1/15/04 Jack Bourbon Funny goddam fuckin shit. 4 stars
1/10/04 Tommy Funniest movie since Caddyshack; One for the Ages 5 stars
1/09/04 Vince Krey sucks the big one. 1 stars
1/06/04 jim march best christmas movie of all time 5 stars
1/04/04 b denton Steps close to saccharine, but never goes over the edge. 5 stars
1/03/04 A F Although raunchy, you need to be at least 50 to enjoy this film. 3 stars
12/31/03 Mike I can not believe that parents really let their children participate in this move 1 stars
12/31/03 Nee Nee This should have been rated X instead of R 1 stars
12/31/03 Me. >:) My god, Max Van Ville is FINE! 5 stars
12/31/03 Angolmois If you like Coen Brothers movies, you'll like this one.Never though I'd laugh at crotchkick 4 stars
12/29/03 Haney Fuckin Hilarious 5 stars
12/26/03 Richard Finally a movie that sees this Christmas shit the way I do 5 stars
12/25/03 Greg Wheat funny as hell 5 stars
12/23/03 Jed Just amazing! Funny but hits an emotional chord. 5 stars
12/23/03 Marcia Lartz Entertaining in spite of itself. A guilty almost pleasure. 4 stars
12/23/03 SC It was the sickest, most twisted, perverse, irreverent and utterly appalling movie I had se 5 stars
12/23/03 Steven wolff best xmas movie ever 5 stars
12/22/03 Ivan Amaro Very creative, you get a surprise after a surprise, the soundtrack picks are extraordinary 5 stars
12/22/03 ger Bad Santa is one of the 10 worse movies I have seen 1 stars
12/12/03 ROY L. CAIN,JR. I haven't seen a Santa this BAD since Bill Murray on "SNL" in 1977. R.I.P. John Ritter. 5 stars
12/11/03 john great, hilarious, delightful 5 stars
12/11/03 Tom F Great movie! Laughed so hard I cried! 5 stars
12/11/03 astrotart Finally a movie that's just as crass as I am! 4 stars
12/10/03 re funny 5 stars
12/08/03 Still N. Stitches Funniest "got damned" movie I've seen in a long while! Riotously hilarious! 5 stars
12/05/03 Smitty in Evanston The funniest film of the year... 5 stars
12/05/03 Igor Laughed my ass off. I haven't seen a movie this funny in a very long time. 5 stars
12/03/03 Obi Wan Unexpectly very funny . . .didn't know Billy Boy had it in him! LOL I'M ON MY BREAK!!!!!! 5 stars
12/03/03 Agent Sands This is a surprisingly brilliant, hilarious movie. Everything's done well. 5 stars
12/03/03 aseelye Funniest movie I've seen in a long time 5 stars
12/02/03 kawaii50 I laughed but I found myself wondering why in the @#$% I was watching this mess 2 stars
12/02/03 HangMikeMyersforFuckinguptheCat THIS MOVIE WAS FUCKING AWESOME.HILARIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
12/01/03 JackedSanta Funny 5 stars
12/01/03 NoRefill 4 or 5 pretty funny scenes, but the rest just falls apart. Had potential, but fails. 2 stars
11/30/03 cpbjr Laughed my ass off, but was very poignent at the same time. Good flick. 4 stars
11/30/03 Morally Sound Ho-ho-hollarious from start to finish! Black comedy at its best! 5 stars
11/30/03 jimmy d this movie is a very touching family movie. only rated R for 1 f word. rest is touching!!! 5 stars
11/28/03 ajay this movie is full of those moments where you think, "man, it's so wrong, but so funny" 4 stars
11/28/03 Michael Medved Fun for the whole family!! Bring the kids! 5 stars
11/28/03 Scott Imhoff Bad Santa is a mean-hearted story about the abuse of an overweight child. 1 stars
11/28/03 Curious George Pretty good. 4 stars
11/28/03 TP Bad film, Butt fucking bad! 1 stars
11/27/03 nick2k this movie was quite coen-esque. really funny! 5 stars
11/25/03 HangMikeMyersforFuckinguptheCat Saw it last night in a screening. very funny, and good to see ritter again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  26-Nov-2003 (R)
  DVD: 10-Oct-2006

UK
  N/A

Australia
  25-Nov-2004




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