Bad Santa (2003)

Rating : 

Remember that time when Billy Bob Thornton put on a Santa suit and robbed department stores at Christmas time?

You might have forgotten it as the film is now over a decade old but this film is one very special film. For as much as this film is about Thornton’s character Willy it is also about childhood innocence, belief in Santa and the many ways to rob a department store.

Honestly Brett Kelly is the star of this show. Billy Bob Thornton is great as Willy the titular “Bad Santa” but it is his relationship with “The Kid” Thurman (you don’t learn his name till about an hour into the movie.) It is Thurman that induces the change to Willy as well as being the victim of not only bullies but Tony Cox’s bad guy Marcus.

There is a lot of humour in the movie I’ll give you that but to be honest I never actually liked the humour in the movie, I much preferred the story between the characters. Or should I say I’ve always loved Thurman.

You might be shocked that I decided to review this film if I obviously didn’t like it that much. Well that is the strength of Thurman.

Seriously the kid is great.

Willie and Marcus have their thing, they dress as Santa and a Christmas Elf to infiltrate department stores and steal from them. Willie is a drunk and Marcus and his wife Lois are the masterminds. Whilst doing his Santa stuff a kid comes to see him. That kid is Thurman. Later in the night when he gets. Attacked? Outside a bar Thurman shows up and defends him. Willie takes Thurman home and steals his dads car (his dad is in prison.) Later when he see’s police in his apartment Willie moves in with Thurman.

To be quite honest the movie isn’t a feel good movie, it is meant to make you laugh if you like that kind of humour, in the end Willie doesn’t become good. Heck the one moment that kind of saves the film is him running away from the department store with a stolen pink elephant for Thurman.

The thing is it is ONLY as good as it is because you want something good to happen to Thurman who seems to have such a shit life that it is unfair if something better didn’t come along. The best he’s getting is this drunken, sex crazed Santa so seeing the drunken sex crazed Santa actually risk his neck just to deliver a stuffed toy is quite nice.

Personally I feel most of the jokes are really lame and the good bits never lasted long enough. The setting was quite boring and things just seemed to happen and end so fast that I wasn’t too bothered what happened. The ending chase was OK and I liked, in general, the letter he sent to Thurman in the end but that is about it.

It isn’t even like the jokes were that funny to begin with.

Of course it has its charm. It is a different kind of Christmas movie, it doesn’t send me to sleep and there are some moments that I like about it.

When it came out I couldn’t see the big fuss over it and now that it is 11 years old I’m not surprised that no one seems to remember it that well.

It is here though because Christmas is all about taking the bad with the good and this is not a good movie, but it is different and Thurman is one of the best creations you’ll ever see. That kid should have won a Oscar.

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