Despite being vulgar, rude and distasteful, 2003’s Bad Santa is one of my favorite Christmas films. My wife may frequently insist that it “doesn’t count,” but I find that beneath all of its depravity (and there’s plenty of that), there’s still a genuine touch of sweetness to it. Billy Bob Thornton somehow managed to turn a violent alcoholic con artist into a sympathetic character on a quest for redemption, and as far as I’m concerned, it works.
It’s been 13 years since the original film, and soon we’ll be finding out if Thornton still has the magic touch as he returns for the long-gestating sequel, Bad Santa 2. Reuniting with original cast members Tony Cox and Brett Kelly, the follow-up finds Willie (Thornton) once again drinking and cursing his way through the holiday season as he plots would could turn out to the largest heist of his career.
Based on this trailer, whatever magic propelled the original film into becoming a holiday staple has long since dissipated. Even the addition of Kathy Bates as Willie’s cantankerous mother can’t save this footage from a stream of painfully unfunny attempts at humor. After more than a decade in development, I expected much better, and this clip just pushed Bad Santa 2 straight off my radar.
Here’s the official synopsis, just in case you’re still interested:
Fueled by cheap whiskey, greed and hatred, Willie teams up once again with his angry little sidekick, Marcus, to knock off a Chicago charity on Christmas Eve. Along for the ride is ‘the kid’ – chubby and cheery Thurman Merman, a 250-pound ray of sunshine who brings out Willie’s sliver of humanity.
Mommy issues arise when the pair are joined by 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, the charity director with a heart of gold and libido of steel.
One thing Bad Santa 2 has in its favor (aside from Thornton) is that Mean Girls director Mark Waters is at the helm, which gives me just a sliver of hope. Let’s hope Waters can pull off a Christmas miracle with this one- we’ll find out when Bad Santa 2 hits theaters on November 23.
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