Bad Santa 2 | Billy Bob Thornton's amoral slob returns for an anti-festive sequel

Bad Santa 2 Billy Bob Thornton Brett Kelly
(Image credit: Jan Thijs)

Wilder. Drunker. Badder.

Back in 2003, deliciously dark black comedy Bad Santa saw Billy Bob Thornton's foul-mouthed, alcoholic slob of a Santa deliver a gleefully offensive assault on festive pieties and political correctness. The shock long gone, sequel Bad Santa 2 doubles down on the offensiveness but misses out on the glee.

Thornton's misanthropic character, Willie Soke, is every bit as drunken and disreputable as before, but he proves a good deal less amoral when his despised mother Sunny, played by a butch, heavily tattooed Kathy Bates, tries to recruit him into robbing a Salvation Army-like charity in Chicago run by Christina Hendricks’ wealthy philanthropist.

Sadly, the film’s efforts to reheat its predecessor’s raucous comedy prove as appetising as stale mince pies. Having said that, the sequel’s best feature does turn out to be a warmed over repeat, with Brett Kelly adding sweetly daft charm as the 21-year-old version of the hopelessly naïve, tubby kid who uncovered Willie’s soft spot in the original film.

Certificate 15. Runtime 89 mins (Extended version: 91 mins). Director Mark Waters

Bad Santa is available on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Download.

DVD Extras: Ruder, Cruder Edition: Thurman Then & Now / Just Your Average Red Band Featurette / Jingle Balls / Gag Reel / Deleted Scenes / Alternate Opening / Alternate Ending / 6 x Trailers & Spots including Red Band Teaser Trailer (Uncensored) Blu-ray Extras: Extended Edition Too Rude for Cinemas: Theatrical & Extended versions of the film, all the DVD extras plus THAT’S MY WILLIE!

Read the full review.

Jason Best

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.