Friday, May 30, 2008

Christmas Movies: Bad Santa

Bad SantaImage via Wikipedia* Contains spoilers *

When it comes to adult-oriented Christmas movies, Bad Santa has to be the king of the genre. There has never been a more foul-mouthed, nasty Christmas movie than this. And that's actually a good thing.

When children write letters to Santa, this isn't the Santa that gets their letters. Thank goodness! In the hands of lesser actors, this Santa would be a complete disaster. But the fact that Billy Bob Thornton crafted a character so completely without value as a human being actually works in Bad Santa's favor. You know in the end he has to reform just a little -- just enough to keep people who get depressed by the holidays from gun play. So his being such a reprobate allows the ending to be upbeat without the usual gee-golly-gosh sentimentality you find in Christmas movies.

When you add Tony Cox as Santa's almost-moral criminal co-hort, Bernie Mac as the corrupt department store manager and the late John Ritter as a persnickety store salesperson (his performance alone makes it worth seeing the movie), you have a cast that knows its way around comedy. Also lending a hand to up the comedy level are Lauren Tom and Lauren Graham, and Brett Kelly, the sweet and innocent child around whom the heart of this strange but wonderful Christmas movie beats.

Take a look at what a bad Santa he is (foul language alert):

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