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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 24 July 2004
I have to strongly disagree with the reviewer who found no redeeming qualities in this magnificent, hard-edged comedy. Sure, it's not for everyone - if you can't get past some well-constructed profanity, then you're not going to enjoy it - but if it's not for you, why not simply accept that fact, and let others enjoy it, rather than run it down?
But enough live-and-let-live. The movie deals with the sort of weird, real-life comedy that actually happens ... not contrived Hollywood cutesiness. Story may seem to meander a little, but that's more to do with the realistic tone of the movie than any lack of plotting; au contraire, Blackadder, it's superbly scripted. The acting throughout is faultless, and the comic timing is spot-on. It couldn't have been better made. But the bottom line ... it's very, very, very funny, in a realistic, bitter way that will strike chords with anyone who lives outside of a coccoon. It's a million miles from the smug, safe, self-aware gloop of most Hollywood comedies; more Amelie than American Pie. A wonderful breath of not-politically-correct fresh air.
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on 13 July 2004
If you were ever curious to find out how unapologetic and raw a movie can be, then you won't have to wonder much longer. Because, here comes "Bad Santa." No, this isn't your cute and cuddly Christmas movie that'll make you feel good inside. This is a movie that is so vulgar and relentless that you can't help but laugh all the way through it. There is not a single second where this movie is tamed or surrendering, and that alone is something to admire.
Willie T. Stokes isn't your ordinary mall Santa. He's a foulmouthed alcoholic who loathes his own life more than anything else in the world. He's also a successful thief and uses the "Santa" guise in order to help him rip off the department stores, but all of the abuse of booze has taken its toll on him. Things are a little different this year, as a kid who absolutely believes that he is the real Santa takes a liking to him, giving Willie a great hide-out at his own house. Not to mention he meets a beautiful bartender who has a sick "Santa" fetish that's uncontrollable, but he doesn't mind that one bit. Yes, it is shaping up to be a year full of profanity, booze and depression for Willie, and isn't that what Christmas is all about?
I don't think even Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino combined can match up to the usage of profanity in this pleasantly dark and off-the-wall comedy. Did it bother me? Of course not, but then again it never really bothers me. I knew exactly what to expect from this movie, so I was very well prepared for what I would witness. I have no problem telling you that I thought this movie was downright funny. Billy Bob Thornton is hilarious as a bitter and depressed Santa. Call me demented, but I thought it was pretty funny when he swears at all of the little kids. He never fails to dish out a few "colorful" words here and there. Bernie Mac and the late and very much missed John Ritter are also very entertaining in their roles. The script was very well written and accomplishes what it wanted--and that is to be funny, and nothing more.
This is not a movie for those who easily get offended. If you hate profanity, then you will loathe this movie. That is a fact. Don't even attempt it if that's the case. This is one of the few movies where it never chickens out. It's raw and brutal from beginning to end. It's not a deep film, and it's not trying to be one. This is a movie that is completely character-driven, so don't expect a fabulous story or a complex plot. The movie's only goal is to be funny and entertaining, and I think it does just that.
"Bad Santa" is a vulgarly good time and it doesn't try to pretend to be something else. It is what it is. It's not for those who are offended by non-stop usage of profanity. While it's no cinematic masterpiece, I found it to be highly entertaining. If you're looking for a dark comedy that refuses to take itself seriously or make any apologies, then this is something worth looking into. A very funny and crude comedy with great performances from an extremely funny cast. -Michael Crane
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 24 November 2014
The concept of making a Christmas film that flies in the face of the "normal family Christmas film" was a slightly risky plan, but this has become a firm favourite for many viewers keen to depart from the usual proceedings.

"Bad Santa" is just that, the film opens with a rendition of Chopin Nocturne Op.9 No.2 a very well known song and you'd think out of place for a film like this, but the opening scene showing a camera slowly panning down to a bar..moving through the happy customers we see a half drunk Willie T. Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton) drinking shorts in his Santa outfit on his own away from the festive fun and others. What follows is a "commentary" by Billy he's been to prison, had his eye socket punched out. The film title comes up just after Thornton "throws up" outside the bar, it's a fantastic opening sequence and sets the pace for the entire film.

The story is a bit more interesting than some might think Willie isn't just a Santa for fun or for a bit of extra money it's a cover for a well organised "safe breaking" operation. Willie is joined by his "elf" partner Marcus (Tony Cox) both begrudgingly do their "Santa" act only to get to know the layout of the store (and security codes) a short period of work at a few places and they've made enough money to last them for the year with their "heists"

Cast wise we also have Sue played by Lauren Graham (Billy's bartender girlfriend whom he meets one night complete with a hilarious in the car Santa sex scene) The late John Ritter who plays Bob Chipeska the store manager. Gin Slagel (Bernie Mac) is onto the duo and is the security manager for the shopping centre. Brett Kelly has a significant role as Thurman Merman the overweight and somewhat less tuned in than he should be "kid" who thinks that Willie is the "real Santa"

The story isn't to be taken too seriously (but the plot works quite well) neither is the entire film it's at times crude with fairly strong language and some mild sex scenes. Thornton is magnificent (his downbeat no enthusiasm vibe is perfect in this role) as Willie the drunk foul mouthed no manners Santa who is, rude, tasteless and downright ignorant at times (he even wets himself, is nasty to most of the kids) he is everything a Santa shouldn't be and plays the part perfectly. I would say though I like the ending despite being a "bad guy" there is a heart to Willie and this shows in the closing scenes the down and out robber does have some affection for "the kid" Thurman and I think it breaks up the film nicely.

Bad Santa is not a film for those easily offended, however it does manage to be genuinely funny, and makes a welcome diversion (for adults)
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on 18 December 2004
This movie is hilarious. I am definetely buying it when it comes out in the UK. There is constant swearing in it however but you can't help but laugh. I think I must of laughed the whole way through it. Buy it!
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on 23 January 2005
Normally the phrase seasonal comedy is a guarantee of poor quality and a complete absence of actual humour. This unrepentant offering bucks that trend with a no holds barred ride to the dark side.
Alcoholic safe-breaker Willie (Billy Bob Thornton) uses his cover as a department store Santa to rob the very same stores, this year his plans are thrown into jeopardy by a small stupid child and a greedy security guard. The film spends its course riffing off the idea that rather than Santa being an avuncular, cheery, rotund old guy, he is in fact an unreformed drunk with a taste for loose women.
In an attempt to take advantage of the aforementioned stupid small child, by moving into his house, Willie becomes unwittingly drawn into his life. This leads to a series of situations (including a genuinely hilarious three way fight with Willie's partner in crime, who happens to be a midget) that gradually transform Willie and allow him to develop some real relationships. That this is done without ever heading for the sickly sweet scenes that tend to dominate the usual Christmas movie drivel is impressive in itself, that it remains funny and even shocking right up to the end (where youngsters witness the police shooting down santa on Christmas eve) is a minor miracle.
It is worth noting that the film isn't without its downsides, it occasionally veers towards unwanted levels of puerility, and Bernie Mac is truly terrible as the security guard attempting to muscle in on the scam. However, these are minor quibbles with what is without a doubt the funniest, blackest comedy of 2004.
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on 7 August 2008
For those of us who can't quite get into the Christmas spirit, "Bad Santa" is a massive preemptive strike against all of the insufferable sentimentality we're going to be subjected to a few months from now. This movie is every bit as entertaining and funny as "School Of Rock," but where "School Of Rock" succeeded through the overwhelming weight of its good intentions, "Bad Santa" (its moderately heartwarming ending notwithstanding) is all about bad intentions. This movie, especially in its powerhouse first half, displays such a commitment to mean-spiritedness that you can't help but love it.
Billy Bob Thornton's safe-cracking department-store Santa Willie is the epitome of ugliness, all the more so because he commits much of his mayhem in his work outfit. Early on we see him getting drunk and throwing up in an alley, and from there he remains in the gutter for much of the movie. He chain smokes, he wets himself in his chair, he fornicates in a dressing room, and above all, he swears. I don't find profanity inherently funny, but Thornton's acid tongue manages to turn four-letter words into weapons of unimaginable destructive power. More than anything I've seen since the "South Park" movie, "Bad Santa" manages to elevate nasty language into an art form.
Even in its moments of humanity, the movie doesn't aim too high. Willie does have a love interest, but not quite in the conventional sense: intead, it's a young bar waitress with a Santa fetish who demands that Willie wear his stocking cap during coupling. Willie also finds some meaning in his life by striking up an offbeat friendship with a fat, bullied kid named Thurman, a bond that manifests itself in one unforgettable scene when Willie beats the living hell out of the teen skateboarder who gave Thurman a black eye.

Even though it's Thornton's show, "Bad Santa" also benefits from a top-notch supporting cast. In his last film role, the late John Ritter is the picture of ineffectualism as the mall manager; Bernie Mac is admirably slimy as the self-interested security chief; and the three-foot-tall Tony Cox belies his small size with a scene-stealing performance as Willie's "elf" and partner in crime.

"Bad Santa" doesn't have an enormous level of plot development, but then it doesn't really need much. What's really important is the way the movie's cynicism slices and dices the sugary "cheer" (which is often cynical itself) that typically accompanies the holiday season. Christmas isn't all about irritating songs and people rioting in department stores over cheap presents, and we all owe a debt to "Bad Santa" for dumping a little snow on the parade.

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on 22 January 2009
A real funny film - full of comedy and adult humour. This film was much better than i was expecting it to be. NOT FOR CHILDREN though!

Great film.
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on 18 November 2015
We had seen this movie before BUT didn't remember quite so much bad language!!!! We are not prudish by ANY stretch of the imagination, but feel some of the language was not necessary.HOWEVER this was a great movie overall and not much to do with Christmas for the kiddies.Billy Bob Thornton gives his usual great performance backed up by a good cast----Brett Kelly, the main little lad gives a heartfelt performance.Yes worth watching-----but don't expect 'jolly santa' and adorable reindeers!!!!Expect Billy Bob at his near best
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on 4 December 2005
Anyone who is easily offended should avoid this film like the plague. It is the complete opposite of the usual saccharine offerings brought out for the festive season. Bad Santa is the story of Willy, a womanising, alcoholic, foul mouthed, safe cracker who, alongside his sidekick Marcus, spends the festive season posing as a store Santa (complete with pint sized ‘elf’) in order to rob the stores they work in. Willy hates kids, and is rude and obnoxious to all the little darlings who sit on his lap, (as well as to anyone else he comes across). Things change when a lonely, bullied boy, Therman Herman decides to latch onto Santa and become his friend. Very reluctantly, Willy finds himself considering someone other than himself.
Billy Bob Thornton is brilliant as the grouchy, unkempt Willy, whilst Brett Kelly shows a mature acting ability as the misfit Therman. Laura Graham is Sue, the girl with the Santa Claus fetish who falls for Willy but insists he always wears his hat. Peppered with language that would make a navvy blush and scenes that touch on the taboo, this is a film that makes no pretence at being politically correct and doesn’t care if it offends. It is outrageous in parts yet manages to produce some real ‘laugh out loud’ moments. The DVD features a few extras such as outtakes and deleted scenes and the usual subtitles but nothing to get too excited about. This is a film for anyone who likes a ‘belly laugh’ and isn’t easily shocked but it definitely isn’t one for the children.
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on 29 November 2005's the best Christmas comedy there is. One of the most vulgar and hysterical films ever.
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