Spirited holiday moviegoers will be delighted to learn that Santa is actually a foul-mouthed criminal with a penchant for hard liquor and anal sex. Such is the shtick of "Bad Santa." Willie Soke (Billy Bob Thornton) gets hired as a department store Claus each year so that he can empty the safe on Christmas Eve.
The "look at Santa vomit and cuss" joke is funny the first 30 or 40 times, but by minute 45, the gag smells about as pleasant as a rotting fruitcake. Ha ha, look: Santa's drunk. Santa's swearing. Santa's sanding the Angelina Jolie tattoo off his ass. And is it just me, or is Billy Bob on a curious career track? After playing a lecherous U.S. president in "Love Actually" and now evil Santa, I fully expect to see him in Mel Gibson's upcoming film as the Belching Jesus.
Santa's partner in crime is a foul-mouthed elf (ha ha, look: the elf is swearing), and Bernie Mac joins the cast as a creepy mall security guard. Creepiest of all, however, is the chubby little kid that fixates on Bad Santa and -- wouldn't you know it? -- teaches him how to love.
Director Terry Zwigoff brings us the only thing worse than a movie stuffed full of syrupy holiday conventions: a movie where each of these conventions is hauled out and then, for lack of any better ideas, systematically stomped on. Zwigoff vandalizes convention for the sheer thrill of desecration. As a result, "Bad Santa" certainly lives up to its name.
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