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The baddest Santa ever comes to town with the hilarious Billy Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac, and John Ritter! Ill-mannered store Santa Willie Stokes (Thornton) is really a safecracker with a holiday tradition of making one big score every Christmas Eve with his clever Elf-partner-in- crime Marcus. But this year's heist-fest could be completely foiled by a snoopy store manager (Ritter), savvy mall detective (Mac), sexy Santa fan, and an innocent 8 year old misfit who thinks the intoxicated and felonious Willie is the real Santa he seeks. Forget the cookies and milk; this is the gritty gut busting comedy Rolling Stone pegs as "a Christmas perennial for Scrooges of all ages!"
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The first time I saw this, I was literally shocked at how funny this was. Dark funny though. Sure it has Billy Bob in it, but I was not expecting it to be as vulgar and raunchy as it is. Which I absolutely loved. Billy Bob plays the perfect disgusting `doesn't give a crap' drunk. I'm sure the man has plenty of experience being drunk, but sometimes it's so realistic looking that you think he might've gotten drunk for some of the scenes. It's almost hard to explain how great he played his character. You can really tell Willie hates his life and really just doesn't care about anything. When you are at work, and you just piss yourself cause you just don't want to get up, you know you've hit rock bottom. Especially if you work is being Santa. And his interactions with the children in this movie are gut bustingly funny. I'm sure some parents wouldn't like it, but hey, if a kid sat on my lap and then sneezed a ton of chocolate in my face, I would freak out on him also.
Now the whole movie isn't about Willie being a dirt bag though. Even though that does cover a lot. There is a nice story that is going on between Willie and a very weird child that he meets during his Santa moment. The child lives with his grandmother who is basically brain dead unless its time to make sandwiches. So Willie decides to rob the kid's place, until he gets there and discovers that it's a sweet place to stay while they prepare for the heist. Now while the movie is mainly dark at heart, it's this part that we can see the light beginning to flutter awake. While Willie is mainly mean and uncaring to the kid at first, he begins to try and help the kid out from being so weird, but in Willie's way which is usually not the way you teach kids to do things. And then later the kid gives Willie a present, which was very funny, but also really touching. And you can tell in Willies eyes it's the first time in a long time something has made him feel again.
Sadly though I think Bernie Mac and John Ritter weren't that good in this movie. They are very funny guys, but I don't know, their roles just didn't seem right for them. That's just my opinion of course, because it seems like a lot of people like their characters. Everyone else was great though. Lauren Graham is so yummy.
If you're ready for some hilarious crude humor, then light up a cinnamon or pine candle, break out some alcoholic eggnog, and pop in Bad(der) Santa. Just make sure the kiddies aren't around for this one.
P.S. - Every Christmas I gather all my Christmas movies and try to watch as many as I can. My top 5 are (in no particular order) "Home Alone", "Home Alone 2", "Christmas Vacation", "Bad(der) Santa", and "Family Man".
Certainly while the plot of this version (Director's Cut) remains consistent with the plot of the unrated version (which incidentally is the most popular version) and the original theatrical release, the Director's Cut of Bad Santa is far superior to the other versions in that the overall flow and pacing of the film has been dramatically improved. It also tosses in many additional bits and scenes (including alternative takes) not found in the other versions that serves to assist with this task of improving the overall flow of the action, thus making this version a more evenly paced film (and therefore much more enjoyable to watch) as compared to the others.
But please don't buy this version if you think that by doing so you are going to be magically introduced to a new version of Badder Santa (the unrated version), because that is not the intent of this particular version. This seems to be most everyone's complaint with this particular version, because they seem to think that they are going to be introduced to additional bits of the same rude, crude, dark, and disgusting that we have all come to cherish in both the original film version and the unrated version. Now please don't misunderstand me, all of the same rude and crude is still there in all of its festive holiday glory, just not ANY MORE of it than what has already been dished out in the other versions. Only difference now is that some of that same rude and crude that to me felt somewhat contrived and over-the-top in the other versions has now been placed in a more natural vein that lends itself to being more truthful to the characters and more honest with the audience. I suppose that this makes some of the humor more subtle in some minds, but in my mind it makes for a much better film overall, and still funny as hell...even funnier actually.
But anyway, if you are a film buff and consider yourself an honest film critic, I think that you will be very pleased with the Director's Cut. It's much less contrived and therefore much more honest to the film's characters in a more evenly paced movie that to me is much more pleasing and easier to enjoy than the other versions, which makes it a superior version by far.