Billy Bob Thornton and Tony Cox reprise their roles of safe cracker Willie Stokes and his dwarf buddy Marcus. A now grown-up Brett Kelly again plays the pathetic Santa-loving Thurman Merman who — no matter how mean Stokes is to him — clings to their fragile friendship.
This time, the pair team up to rob many million dollars from the safe of a Salvation Army-like set-up run by a shyster and his wife. The twist is, Willie has to work with his estranged mom.
What made 2003’s Bad Santa so much fun is Thornton’s best-ever performance. Willie is the the most disgusting holiday movie character of all time and it’s why the first movie has become a cult favorite. He is the only actor I know who could pull it off. Thornton is also the only reason Bad Santa 2 works. Revolting as Willie is, the character is impossible not to love, even if he has more heart than he had in the first film.
However, the sequel is as flawed as its characters. The first film’s deep and defective characters, and a plot that is equally twisted, is what made it a classic. This one is as shallow as the other was deep. I love seeing Thornton and Cox redo these characters, but while Bad Santa 2 is good, it’s not as good at being bad as the original.
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Bad Santa 2
Director: Mark Waters
Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, Brett Kelly, Kathy Bates, Christina Hendricks
Mr. Movie rating: 3 stars
Rated R for language, sex, brief nudity. It’s playing at the Carmike 12, Regal’s Columbia Center 8, the Fairchild Cinemas Pasco 12, Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don’t bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.