Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Not my thing.
Hey, Grinches and Scrooges need holiday movies too! Got to be honest here, Bad Santa was nowhere near my cup of tea. I don’t know what it is, but for the most part, I can’t really get into dark comedies. There has been a precious few I have actually really liked, but for the most part, they don’t affect me as they do most of you. As for this film, there were a few scenes where I chuckled, but even then, it mostly felt forced. Because of my bias against it, I am kind of at a lost when other critics tell me they really enjoy it.
The title itself is self-explanatory, more or less. It’s about…a bad…Santa. He’s an alcoholic, obscene, selfish old man that results to profanity and violence whenever he is upset, which is always. With him is a bad elf, which is a black little person that is working with Santa to rob malls all over the country every holiday season. Things start to get trickier when the security department of their current mall is intense, headed up by Bernie Mac. All the while, Santa lives with a weird chubby kid to escape the authorities.
I think there’s a solid reason as to why I sometimes dislike dark comedies and sometimes like them. I think it has a lot to do with plot direction, to which I don’t think this one had a very great one. When I think who the protagonist is, that’s obvious, there is none. Call me old fashioned, but I like a character you can root for. A character that you can love-to-hate is great too, but I think there needs to be a balance. Yes, there were certain moments where you actually can admire this guy, but he’s still a giant prick. When I think what the main goal of the film, I would guess it would be to rob the mall, but preparations for said goal are scarce and substituted for just…scenes of Santa being…bad. Well scenes of Santa being bad isn’t plot advancement, it’s just to make a quick laugh if this is the type of humor you enjoy.
Billy Bob worked fabulously for what they were going for in his character, but unless that’s all they were going for, they didn’t do so great overall. I can appreciate the chemistry between Santa and his elf and the little chubby kid, but the only thing I like so far is characters. I need a good plot to actually have the ability to enjoy a flick. Like I said before, some of the jokes worked for me, but when I laughed, it always almost felt forced, and it was more of a chuckle.
I think in the end, I can’t really say I even liked the film. I appreciate some of the things in the film, but for the most part, I just blankly stared at the film waiting for it to end. What can I say? It wasn’t my type of thing. If I rated it how I personally thought of it, the rating might be…maybe 45%? However, I can appreciate everyone else’s love towards the film and some of the tactics used while writing. I am also prejudiced against dark comedies, so because of that bias, my rating went up even further. I stand by my final rating, and in fact I think I’m being nice.
As far as characters go, this film is golden. Billy Bob Thornton is amazing as Bad Santa, Tony Cox as the midget was just as great, and Brett Kelly did a great job as the really weird kid. Together, they had great chemistry and they honestly did a good job.
For me, it was everything else. It’s not so much the dark comedy that I don’t like as the loss of direction. There’s a plot deep in the film, but for the most part, it’s ignored just to show how ridiculous the character of Bad Santa can possibly be…which while helps character development doesn’t help plot at all.
Watching Boy: [stares at Willie] I saw you at another mall.
Willie: Well, I’m happy for you.
Watching Boy: If you really are Santa, you could do magic.
Willie: [whispers] Wanna see some magic? OK, let’s watch you disappear!
[shoves him away]