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Bad Santa

Where to Watch Bad Santa

R
2003

A darkly amusing Christmas journey, Bad Santa, is an unconventional yet hilarious holiday treat that slackens jovial humor with a somewhat twisted narrative. Released in 2003, and directed by Terry Zwigoff, this outrageous comedy-drama showcases the talents of Billy Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac, and Lauren Graham, whose performances provide the perfect mixture of comedy and cynicism.

Key among the movie's players is Billy Bob Thornton, embodying the role of the grumpy, alcoholic safecracker, Willie Soke. Using Santa as his alcoholic alter ego, Willie makes a habit of taking advantage of his holiday job to rob department stores on Christmas Eve. He, and his dwarf accomplice Marcus "Elf" Skidmore, played by Tony Cox, are the grinch equivalent of modern urban society in the Christmas season. Willie, with his gruff personality, unfriendly demeanor, and dirty real-time commentary about everything, has a particularly risky job, entertaining kids and their parents as department store Santa while himself having a perspicuous dislike for children. Thornton completely immerses himself in the character, and despite Willie's lifestyle presented with much vulgarity, he still delivers an intriguing performance worth watching.

Tony Cox gives us Marcus, the counter-foil to Willie. His character, a seasoned accomplice to imposter Santa's scams, also adds a lot of humor to the movie. His consistent annoyance and discontent with Willie's ever-disruptive lifestyle causes a lot of contentious spats between the two, making for many of the film's comedic highlights.

Meanwhile, the delightful Bernie Mac stars as the dubious mall security chief Gin Slagel, who starts getting suspicious of Santa’s activities. Bernie Mac brings his unique style of comedy to the film, creating moments that are as humorous as they are shrewd.

Lauren Graham, playing Sue, a woman with a Santa clause fetish, adds a pleasant romantic subplot to the story. Her role, though not central to the plot, adds depth and humanizes the otherwise bitter and pessimistic Willie. Their peculiar love story adds a unique flavor to the entire narrative.

This story also attaches a sentimental subplot featuring Brett Kelly as a sweet, naive, yet neglected kid who genuinely believes that Willie, despite his crude behavior, is the real Santa. Kelly, with his innocent demeanor and sincere belief in Santa, adds a fresh perspective that further complicates Willie's conflicted character.

Thornton’s character, Willie, is not your usual holiday movie protagonist. He’s not cheery all the time; he doesn't give inspiring speeches or learn the true meaning of Christmas at the end. Yet it's this exact deviation from the Christmas comedy norm that makes Bad Santa stand out. Thornton's character is utterly repulsive, and yet he draws laughs out of audiences because of his disregard for the very Christmas cheer he's supposedly supposed to represent.

Furthermore, the script by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa is rife with biting humor and frequent surprises, adeptly juggling different strands of the narrative. The various intertwining elements -- the cynicism, the humor, the absurdity, and the occasional sentimentality -- are weaved together cohesively, building an engagement that lasts until the credits roll.

Director Terry Zwigoff maintains a fine balance between the crude humor and the occasional serious moments in the story. His direction paints a twisted, yet believable, urban world where each character is flawed but familiar.

However, the distinctive trait of the film lies in its treatment of traditional holiday tropes with a sardonic twist. Bad Santa subverts traditional Christmas clichés and delivers a black comedy that prides itself as a film that may not be typical Christmas fare, but still has a peculiar charm that's both entertaining and memorable in its irreverence.

In conclusion, Bad Santa is a bold take on the holiday film genre that boldly explores themes of redemption, personal flaws, and cynicism with a humorous undertone. This Billy Bob Thornton starrer promises to take you on a wickedly funny ride filled with sharp dialogue, flamboyant performances and a plot that pushes the boundaries of a conventional Christmas narrative.

Bad Santa is a Drama, Comedy, Crime movie released in 2003. It has a runtime of 91 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.1. It also holds a MetaScore of 70.

How to Watch Bad Santa

Where can I stream Bad Santa movie online? Bad Santa is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Bad Santa for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

7.1/10
70/100
Director
Terry Zwigoff
Stars
Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, Brett Kelly, Lauren Graham, Lauren Tom, with John Ritter, , Bernie Mac
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