[Review] Christmas Classics: Bad Santa (2004)


I love this time of year, and as someone who does celebrate the wonderful commercialism of Christmas, I always grab the Holiday/Christmas movies and watch them during December.

So why not talk about some ‘Christmas Classics‘? One of the more recent classics to come out over the last decade is Bad Santa. Who doesn’t love this film? It is crude, hilarious, dark and very messed up. This is the vulgar classic, one that can be enjoyed by those who love and hate the holiday season.

Bad Santa is about a very miserable conman played to perfection by Billy Bob Thornton, and his partner Marcus (Tony Cox) who rob department stores each year by playing the Santa and Elf. Their latest escapade isn’t so easy, as our bad Santa is really off the wagon and when he suspects the law is on to him and winds up living at a little bullied kids house. In the meantime the security boss (Bernie Mac) finds out about their plan and wants a cut. Oh the shenanigans!


“Isn’t this normal behaviour for Santa?”

This film contains one of the best performances of Billy Bob Thornton’s career, if there ever was a role he was destined to play it was this! He’s perfect, there is no way anyone else could have played this role, it wouldn’t have been nearly this fantastic. He gives us a character who swears almost as much as I do, he’s an alcoholic, miserable and just not a nice person. Yet some how, this ass hole dude gets feelings, and it’s completely natural. The development of his character works so well, and I think between the great script and his performance is why it shines.

The rest of the cast in this film are great, Tony Cox is fabulous as Marcus the Elf. What a great comedic performance he turns in here, he holds his own with each and every person he comes up against. I loved what he brought here, I could watch him mouth off all day. The late Bernie Mac gives one of his best performances also, his scenes with Cox are so good, the two played off each other so well. The late John Ritter (the film is dedicated to him) is great, he can make a small role memorable. Lauren Graham is sassy and sexy and she had great chemistry with Thornton, another well cast part. Brett Kelly is fabulous as the kid, it is one of the better child performances you’ll likely see.


I can see at least three things wrong with this picture.

My favourite parts in this film involve Thornton’s bad Santa spending time with the kid, it’s such an odd-ball pairing but it’s great stuff. It’s actually really well played out to see them form some kind of bond, and the kid is so pathetic you can’t help but feel sorry for him. I love that he takes him to learn how to box, that scene is pure gold.

I also love any scene with Tony Cox, as I mentioned his stuff with Bernie Mac is awesome. He plays the role straight, even dressed as an Elf – you don’t find that too often with these types of comedies.

I can’t write about this without mentioning the scenes of Thorton actually playing Santa for the kids, oh wow does that job look so miserable. No wonder he drinks as much as he does, that stuff was very well played.


I don’t think grown men are meant to sit on Santa.

This is a modern ‘Christmas Classic’ and well worth revisiting every Christmas. I caught it last year on TV after not having seen it for awhile, and watched it again this year. It will definitely become a tradition in my house hold. If you haven’t grooved to this one yet, I highly recommend it.



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