The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with resolutely unsentimental emotion. So it's very disappointing that this 13-years-later sequel reassembles the cast then merely coasts on the vulgarity, never bothering to develop the characters or plot. It's just as rude, and it provides some solid laughs along the way, but the story never engages the audience, which leaves the movie feeling naughty but never nice.
Over these years, Willie (Billy Bob Thornton) has continued his slacker lifestyle into his early 60s. He still lives in Phoenix, and has continued to try to ignore the attentions of the sweetly naive Thurman (Brett Kelly), who has just turned 21. Then Willie's treacherous ex-cohort Marcus (Tony Cox) gets out of prison and approaches him with a big heist. Against his better judgement, Willie accompanies him to Chicago, where two nasty surprises await: the plan is to steal millions from a children's charity, and Willie's estranged mother Sunny (Kathy Bates) is organising the robbery. Annoyed, Willie instantly falls for the sexy Diane (Christina Hendricks), who is married to the charity's shifty boss (Ryan Hansen). Meanwhile, Marcus tries to seduce a security guard (Jenny Zigrino). And Thurman turns up unannounced.
It's depressing that, after years of talk about a sequel, this haphazard plot is the best the writers could come up with. Every element of the narrative is deeply contrived to merely string together a series of filthy jokes, rude insults, noisy sex and criminal slapstick. All of this would have been welcome if the comedy sprang from the messy relationships or personalities. But everything is so static and pointless that there's nothing to hold the audience's attention, aside from a number of witty gags that pop up out of nowhere. So at least there are a few solid laughs.
Continue reading: Bad Santa 2 Review
Since we last met Willie T. Stokes, his life has had plenty of ups and downs; but mainly downs. He's still in touch with his curly haired friend, Thurman but he's the only person he really has in his life. Thurman is now fully grown and at the age of 21, he's now old enough to drink and he works at a sub sandwich shop.
Thurman is just as naive as the last time we saw him but he has just as much faith in his buddy Willie as he ever has done. Willie can't help but still feel protective over the boy he helped save from bullies all those years prior.
As for Willie's old partner Marcus, as far as Willie's concerned hopefully he's still rotting in jail after attempting to kill Willie. When Marcus gets in contact with our cranky aging ex-Santa, he's surprised to hear from him and even more surprised to learn of a new con Marcus tells him about which could be worth millions.
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Straight-A student and valedictorian Henry Burke is set to gain a scholarship into university, things really couldn't be better for him. However when he finds himself in detention it brings on a chance meeting with one time friend and prominent stoner Travis Breaux that leads to another chance meeting, this time with Mary Jane. His first time with the drug looks to be a positive one, however this is soon marred the next day as his school principle institutes a zero policy drug policy and administers a mandatory drug test for all students.
Henry is caught between two opinions: fail the drugs test, get expelled and lose his scholarship to MIT or team up with Travis to beat the system. Not wanting to jeopardise his future without a fight, the duo team up to steal a high powered blend of ganja from law student turned drug dealer Psycho Ed and spike the school bake sale's brownie supply, getting the whole school - faculty included - to a whole new level of stoned. With every brownie consumed the boys have to contend with the intoxicated student body as well as an enraged Psycho Ed who really starts to live up to his name as he tails the pair for stealing his stash. The stakes are high as they must find a way to keep their half-baked plan from going up in smoke.
Starring: Adrien Brody, Michael Chiklis, Colin Hanks, Cody Longo, Adhir Kalyan, Matt Bush, Mykelti Williamson, Sean Marquette, Yeardley Smith, Michael Vartan,Curtis Armstrong, Luis Chavez, Alicia Sixtos, Mary Birdsong, Julia Ling, Camille Mana, Brett Kelly, Andrew Wilson, Erica Vittina Phillips, Joseph Julian Soria & Nadine Crocker
Director: John Stalberg
In the role he was born to play, Billy Bob Thornton is the bad Santa, a.k.a. Willie Stokes, a chain-smoking, bourbon-guzzling con man who can't utter a sentence without a curse word. Willie and his little-person friend Marcus (Tony Cox) travel from city to city each holiday season, running the same scam: Willie and Marcus play Santa and elf for cut rates, and then Willie cracks the store/mall's safe on Christmas Eve, stealing enough money for them to skip town. But until the big Eve heist, Marcus has to keep the drunk, stumbling, foul-mouthed Santa from "boning" women in the dressing rooms and pissing himself in the Santa chair before passing out, so they can keep their jobs.
Continue reading: Bad Santa Review
"Bad Santa" is one hilariously crass Christmas comedy -- and most certainly not for kids.
From the comical poor taste of running the title credit over a shot of a bitter, broken-down, booze-hound mall Santa (Billy Bob Thornton) upchucking in an alley behind a bar, to the antagonism-eroding friendship he strikes up with an overweight, none-too-bright, literally snot-faced kid (Brett Kelly) who follows him from a department store, this movie is fearlessly twisted and has only the slightest hint of traditional redemption.
But man, it is funny.
Continue reading: Bad Santa Review
Some awesome helicopter shots of showboating snowboarders tearing through powder on pristine 70-degree inclines runs under the opening titles of "Out Cold," an elementary comedy about party-hardy slope bums who use the word "dude" like a comma. The movie's closing credits play over some bloopers and the opening scene's badly biffed outtakes. The wipeouts are even more spectacular than the successful runs.
As for what's in between, therein lies the problem.
The entire plot is laid out in two lines of dialogue uttered almost back-to-back during the opening scene at a scruffy bar in rural Bull Mountain, Alaska. "Maybe the buyer can supply the mountain with what it really needs: really hot chicks!" exclaims one interchangeable stoner dude, regarding the greedy developer who wants to turn the town into an Aspen-like resort of condos and $4 cups of coffee. About 30 seconds later, he pipes up again to opine on the love life of a pal who is still pining for an old girlfriend: "Rick, you're an idiot not to go for Jenny!"
Continue reading: Out Cold Review
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