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Christmas Movie Review: Bad Santa

I have many fond memories of watching “Bad Santa” with a good friend while drinking some beer. It was a yearly tradition when we were in our twenties. So young, we were, as we laughed at how Billy Bob Thornton was so perfectly cast in a film about a crabby middle aged man dressed as Santa. It was before we lost Bernie Mac and John Ritter. Before I had any interest in Gilmore Girls so I had no idea who Lauren Graham was. Those were the days.

If you haven’t seen it, “Bad Santa” is about a angry conman who, with the help of an elf sized friend (Tony Cox), take advantage of a department store’s need for an in store Santa for the kids to come and see. This Santa hates people. Children especially. He tolerates them, though, so that he and his partner can rob the store after it closes on Christmas Eve. The store manager (John Ritter) is suspicious and hires someone (Bernie Mac) to investigate them.

Meanwhile, Santa meets a pretty bartender (Lauren Graham) with a fetish for a guy in a Santa outfit and an outcasted young boy living with his grandmother. Santa takes advantage of the boy as well and crashes at the kids house (the grandmother is absolutely clueless).

While this Santa is completely devoid of any holiday spirit, he does eventually take a liking to the boy and to Lauren Graham but that doesn’t stop him from robbing the department store or getting betrayed by his partner.

While most holiday movies are funny in a glittery, slapstick kind of way, “Bad Santa” is the funny for all the opposite reasons. Billy Bob Thornton is so believable in this character that its hard to not see Billy Bob that miserable in real life. A good addition to any holiday movie marathon if you need a break from the pristine Santa suits and sugar plum fairyness of holiday fare. It pairs well with winter ales and pizza nights. I should know. My twenties don’t lie.

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