Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Movie Review: "Bad Santa 2" (2016)

Movie"Bad Santa 2"
Director: Mark Waters
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 32 minute
Image Source
Willie (Billy Bob Thornton) and Marcus (Tony Cox) reunite in order to rob a charity with the help of Willie's estranged mother Sunny (Kathy Bates).

Well, it's been 13 years since the release of "Bad Santa," which we like, but don't love like everyone else seems to. This being the year of the long delayed sequel and clearly out of ideas, writers, producers, and filmmakers threw up their hands and thought, "why don't we make "Bad Santa 2?" People want that, right?" In the wise, boisterous words of our president-elect: WRONG.

The film is directed by Mark Waters, who is known for other films like "Vampire Academy" and "Mr. Popper's Penguins." This isn't a movie that was made because there was more to tell about the continuing adventures about Billy Bob Thornton's Willie Soke. It is clear this movie was made as an attempted cash grab, nothing more. Waters and his crew take a recycled story, fill it with recycled jokes, and have the actors involved phone in their performances only for a paycheck and BOOM!, we have a movie...well, if you can call it a movie at all. Writers Shauna Cross and Johnny Rosenthal thought to themselves, "everyone loved the crass, boozing, smoking, angry, sex-obsessed mall Santa and his foul-mouthed, sarcastic elf sidekick in 2003, so if we make them twice as crass and twice as foul-mouthed and add the f-word twice as much, it will be twice as funny!" WRONG AGAIN. The original film was a dark comedic satire that walked a fine line between outright offensive and mildly endearing in its undertone. That movie had a slight character arc for Willie as he went from a completely self-centered asshole to an asshole who finally thought of someone besides himself. In this atrocious, awful sequel, he has no arc and he manages to somehow be far less endearing.

Willie still hangs around Thurman Merman, played by a now grown up Brett Kelly, but even that entire plot point has lost its charm. Thurman as a character is written to be extremely stupid, and it was cute when he was an oblivious eight year old, but now, at 21 and on the verge of "getting his cherry popped by Willie," it just comes off as sad. We started to wonder if this character is meant to have some form of mental disability, and if so, are they making fun of this for the sake of low hanging fruit jokes? That being said, Brett Kelly is the only one who seems like he is putting any effort into his performance at all. Tony Cox, who was the prime source of laughs for us in his great original performance that was full of sarcastic wit, is reduced to mostly fielding jokes entirely based on his physical stature. Sure, this happened in the original, but again, it's like the writers knew this was the case and doubled up on the 'little people jokes,' some of which were so offensive in combination with digs at Cox's race, they made us drop our jaws at how low those behind the screen were truly willing to go to be smutty in the name of giggles. And don't even get us started on Kathy Bates and how this Oscar winning actress is left spewing a constant stream of verbal diarrhea that is passed off as dialogue. Every single one of them, guaranteed, did this film for a quick paycheck, and it certainly shows. None of the main three characters wind up being likable in the slightest this time around, and on top of that, the cardinal sin is they aren't funny, either.

"Bad Santa 2" involves Willie, Marcus, and Sunny attempting to rob a charity, which is operated by Diane and Regent Hastings, played by Christina Hendricks and Ryan Hansen, a couple who are only staying together for the charity and haven't had sex together in 10 years. Of course, Regent is cheating on Diane and is skimming money from their charity, and Diane is portrayed as a complete and total dingbat half of the time, and a smarmy skank the other half of the time because, you know, women are only allowed to be in comedies if they are whores or idiots! This tired cliche doesn't go unnoticed here, and it doesn't serve to move the plot forward at all. We are completely ambivalent to their problems and their characteristics, they only serve as a reason for the crime-oriented shenanigans to take place.

At one point, as the only two souls in the empty theater in Southern California, we began to write down all of the dirty, beastly, terrible, uncomfortable things being discussed in this sequel that should have never been made. The crux of the film relies on the audience to laugh at its jokes about felching, 13 years olds having sex and getting pregnant, abortions, midget genocide, making fun of domestic violence and pedophilia, mocking people with Parkinson's disease, and "babies with beer bellies." No one will because none of it is funny. We're all for "too much" dirt and grime a la "Sausage Party" from earlier in 2016, but the dirt and grime in "Bad Santa 2" is never necessary, never fitting, and most importantly, never makes one solid joke. There will be a section of the population that will love the anti-PC rhetoric that Kathy Bates' Sunny spews out time and time again, and if we're being honest, we don't want to know those people because they probably enjoyed this sequel. It's better if we forget this movie exists, even if you are a fan of the original like we were. Don't pay money for this, hell, don't even watch it for free. It's just a waste of time and money and effort.

My Rating: 1/10
BigJ's Rating: 1.5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~5.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 22%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

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