Based on the script alone, I cannot believe Bad Santa (2003) ever got made. It is the darkest and most irreverent take on a Christmas tale I have ever seen. The trailer really doesn’t do it justice, partly because Billy Bob Thornton drops the F-bomb in nearly every line of his dialog, including scenes with kids.
In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the story in brief… Billy Bob Thornton plays Willie, a safe-cracking, wise-cracking, chain-smoking, booze-swilling, ass-tapping thief, aided and abetted by his little friend Marcus, played by Tony Cox. Every Christmas season, the play a different mall in the country as Santa and his little elf, only to rob the mall’s safe at the end of the Christmas season. Willie’s drinking has gotten progressively worse every year… so bad that his distaste for children is glaring, particularly while they’re on his lap unloading their Christmas wishes. With his progressive drinking, his stability and reliability to complete the heists is rocky. The movie follows them on the last gig in their multi-year run.
Willie befriends a fat, clueless, but kind-hearted kid, and crashes at his house during his stint as Santa Claus. Problems ensue when the mall’s head of security (hilariously played by Bernie Mac) gets wise to the con, and Willie’s drinking, stability and overall attitude get even worse.
Thornton as Willie/Santa Clause is the meanest, darkest, raunchiest and most despicable character with absolutely no redeeming qualities. There is, of course, the requisite character shift in the third act, but the ride is absolutely hysterical. I first saw this movie in the theater with my brother and his wife. My brother’s sense of humor is almost as dark as mine, and my sister-in-law was almost embarrassed to be laughing as hard as she was at this outrageous story.
BE WARNED: This movie is NOT for children or people who have a questionable sense of humor. Bad Santa is a dark, irreverent and nasty comedy. And it’s brilliant.