A blog dealing with either the joy of cinema or the agony of cinema--nothing in between.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
A vile misanthropic alcoholic Santa and his African-American elf travel from town to town each holiday season, secure jobs at the local malls, and proceed to rip off their employers. At their latest gig in Phoenix though, Santa's increasingly bizarre behavior threatens their jobs as well as a suspicious mall manager and an ambitious security guard. When a Santa loving bartender and a young overweight outcast come into his life, a wrench is thrown into his life which further complicates matters. Bad Santa is a one joke movie where the one joke isn't even particularly funny. Director Terry Zwigoff, who was able to find the right tones to capture odd characters in Crumb and Ghost World, does not succeed here and many jokes come off more as shocking than humorous. I did not really like the work of Billy Bob Thornton here either whose character generates nothing but disdain. The movie is kept afloat by a fine supporting cast though. Tony Cox is very funny as the vertically challenged sidekick and the same goes for Bernie Mac as the mall cop. John Ritter, in his last film role, is riotous as the mall manager when he describes the antics of Santa to Mac's character. I liked Lauren Graham as well as the bartender with a Santa fetish and Brett Kelly, who plays the kid, may have contributed one of the finest performances of young actor, right up there with Henry Thomas in E.T. Although there are some fine characterizations the main elements of the movie are just not right. Bad Santa overplays its hand and could have benefitted from dialing down its lead character's antics.