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Mark Waters
Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates, Tony Cox, Christina Hendricks
Writing Credits:
Johnny Rosenthal and Shauna Cross

Fueled by cheap whiskey, greed and hatred, Willie teams up once again with his angry little sidekick, Marcus, to knock off a Chicago charity on Christmas Eve.

Rated R/Unrated

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 92 min. (Theatrical)
95 min. (Unrated)
Price: $38.99
Release Date: 2/21/2017

• “Thurman Then and Now” Featurette
• “Just Your Average Red Band” Featurette
• “That’s My Willie” Original Animated Series
• “Jingle Balls” Song
• Gag Reel
• Alternate Opening and Ending
• Deleted Scenes
• Trailers and TV Spots
• Previews


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Bad Santa 2 [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 9, 2017)

Back in 2003, Bad Santa offered Christmas “counter-programming”. A cynical, black comedy, the film offered a holiday film for folks who hate holiday films.

13 years later, the movie’s characters returned for more seedy fun with the logically titled Bad Santa 2. Back in the original story, Willie Soke (Billy Bob Thornton) and Marcus Skidmore (Tony Cox) would play Santa and elf so they could loot shopping malls. However, Willie bonded with an innocent kid named Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly) and went straight.

As we see in the sequel, this life of honesty doesn’t last. In present day, Willie and Marcus reunite so they can go back to their thieving ways, and they target a Chicago-based charity operated by sexy Diane Hastings (Christina Hendricks).

Willie and Marcus encounter a few snags, though. For one, Willie’s horrible mother Sunny (Kathy Bates) arrives and makes his life miserable. In addition, Thurman reignites Willie’s vaguely formed conscience. These factors all come together to impact Willie’s attempts at criminal behavior.

No one could call the first Bad Santa a massive hit, but it took in $60 million in the US, a pretty good total for an inexpensive dark “R”-rated comedy. On the other hand, Santa 2 totally flopped, as it grossed a mere $17 million, a figure so low I wouldn’t count on another chapter in the saga.

Terrible reviews didn’t help. While the first movie got a pretty good 78 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, Santa 2 plummeted all the way to a miserable 23 percent. Those reviews kept me away from the film during its theatrical run – and obviously I wasn’t alone.

I liked the first movie enough to hope that the critics got it wrong – or at least overstated the crumminess of Santa 2. Alas, the reviews nailed it, as Santa 2 offers nothing more than a mean-spirited imitation of the original.

Santa 2 doesn’t bring back director Terry Zwigoff, a factor that concerned me. However, it recruited Mark Waters to take the reins, and he seemed like a potentially acceptable replacement. Waters led the engaging Mean Girls, a flick with some of the bite one wants from the Bad Santa franchise.

That said, Mean Girls wasn’t nearly as dark as Santa, and the rest of Waters’ filmography didn’t make me optimistic he could handle the bitter cynicism necessary for Santa 2. He specializes in family-oriented fare such as Mr. Popper’s Penguins and breezy rom-coms like Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.

So what made the film’s producers think Waters would be a fit for Santa 2? I don’t know, and Waters manages to bring no spark or panache to the proceedings.

Though I don’t know what Waters – or anyone else – could’ve done with the God-awful script. Santa 2 encapsulates the crass side of the original without any of that film’s ingenuity or purpose.

Face it: Santa 2 lacks any real reason to exist. The first film provided an actual plot that told of Willie’s emergence from depression and potential renewal, whereas Santa 2 doesn’t have a distinct story to tell. Yeah, it tries to boost Willie’s long-problematic relationship with his mother, but these moments feel fake and gratuitous.

The movie really wants to do nothing more than spew nastiness and try to amuse us with it incessant ugliness. It doesn’t, and a lot of the jokes don’t even make sense. Lines like “I’ll bet that pussy got lips like an orangutan” attempt laughs via their blunt nature, but they don’t demonstrate internal logic – the dialogue just tosses out as much bile and smut as the writers can find.

Crudeness and offensiveness isn’t the same as cleverness and wit, a fact Santa 2 demonstrates in spades. If there’s an actual laugh to be generated among all the comments about sexual functions and bodily fluids, I’ll be damned if I can find it.

None of the actors threaten to redeem the awful material. Amazingly, Santa 2 boasts three Oscar-caliber actors, as in addition to Bates and Thornton, we find Octavia Spencer in a small role as a cheap hooker.

They all look sad to be involved with this stinker, and I can’t blame them. The performers never add anything to the proceedings, so they don’t manage to make the proverbial silk purse out of this sow’s anus.

Ultimately, Bad Santa 2 simply feels like a cheap, insincere knockoff of the first movie. That one gave us a story and characters with purpose and humor, but the sequel flushes all that down the toilet and turns into a crude, unpleasant viewing experience with no merit.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B-/ Bonus C-

Bad Santa 2 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a fine visual presentation.

From start to finish, sharpness looked strong. With virtually no softness on display, the film looked concise and well-defined. No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and edge enhancement was absent. I also failed to detect any source flaws.

In terms of colors, the movie featured good old orange and teal, with an emphasis on the former. Within those parameters, the hues looked positive. They showed nice clarity and breadth and came out well. Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows appeared clear and smooth. I thought the movie consistently looked great.

I thought that the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Bad Santa 2 seemed fine but it didn’t excel because of a lack of ambition. Like most comedies, the movie featured a limited soundfield that strongly favored the forward channels. It showed nice stereo spread to the music as well as some general ambience from the sides.

Panning was decent, and the surrounds usually kicked in basic reinforcement. A few scenes opened up better – mainly via street sequences – but most of the movie stayed with limited imaging.

Audio quality appeared good. Speech was natural and distinct, with no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects sounded clean and accurate, with good fidelity and no signs of distortion. Music was perfectly fine, as the score and songs showed positive dimensionality. This track was good enough for a “B-“ but didn’t particularly impress.

The Blu-ray provides both the film’s theatrical version (1:32:16) as well as an unrated cut (1:34:50). The extended edition includes four new or longer scenes, none of which seem consequential. Both versions of the film remain similar, so neither works better than the other.

We get an Alternate Opening (1:00), an Alternate Ending (2:49) and four Deleted Scenes (2:41). The “Deleted Scenes” simply repeat the added footage found in the Unrated Cut, so if you viewed that version, you’ll find nothing new. The four scenes offer a little more character info but nothing great.

The “Opening” shows Willie at work, while the “Ending” alters the trajectories of Willie and a few others. Neither does much to stand out as interesting.

A Gag Reel goes for three minutes, 59 seconds. This mostly offers goofs and giggles, but it throws out some alternate lines as well. Those make it more interesting than usual.

Next comes a featurette called Thurman Then and Now. It lasts two minutes, 27 seconds and gives us comments from director Mark Waters and actors Billy Bob Thornton, Brett Kelly, Tony Cox, and Kathy Bates. They talk about the Thurman character and Kelly’s performance. It lacks much to make it worthwhile.

Just Your Average Red Band Featurette fills two minutes with remarks from Kelly, Thornton, Waters, Bates, and actors Christina Hendricks, Jenny Grigino and Ryan Hansen. They offer banal comments about the film that are punctuated by crude remarks. Once again, we get little of substance.

An Original Animated Series called “That’s My Willie” occupies three minutes, 51 seconds. It offers cartoon adventures that show the experiences of Willie and Thurman since the first film. These lack humor.

A 35-second reel called Jingle Balls offers a musical interlude. It takes many of the movie’s smutty bits and plays them with them with holiday song accompaniment. It’s just as lame as it sounds.

Some promotional elements appear under Trailers and Spots. This area features two Santa 2 trailers along with four TV spots.

The disc opens with ads for The Infiltrator, A Walk In the Woods, 99 Homes and The Dark Horse. Sneak Peeks provides promos for Bridget Jones’s Baby, Last Days in the Desert, Knight of Cups, Song of Lahore, Break Point, 10000 KM, Samba, Eden, I Smile Back and Learning to Drive.

Because the original film offered a delightfully cynical experience, I hoped Bad Santa 2 would offer more of the same. Unfortunately, the sequel lacks its predecessor’s insight and wit, as it focuses on cheap crudeness without any wit or cleverness whatsoever. The Blu-ray boasts excellent visuals along with decent audio and insubstantial bonus materials. Fans of Bad Santa should avoid this execrable spinoff.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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