Bad Santa 2: Unrated [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray A - America - Broad Green Pictures
Review written by and copyright: Robert Segedy (18th February 2017).
The Film

I believe that comedy is one of the hardest forms of drama to master; what is funny to me, may not strike you as humorous and vice versa. In 2003, Terry Zwigoff struck box-office gold with his story of a miserable conman and his partner posing as department store Santa and elf in order to rip the place off and something about the combination of Billy Bob Thorntonís foul mouthed act and his height challenged partner delighted film goers. So flash forward to 2016 and for those that craved more of these sophomoric hijinksí here comes the sequel, "Bad Santa 2". Now, I am not a holiday person, let alone one that enjoys holiday themed films, so it was with visibly lowered expectations that I sat down to watch this film and the results were as expected. I am hardly a prudish person and usually enjoy black comedies, but there was something trite and overly familiar with the extended gags in this film experience. Billy Bob Thornton reprises his character from the first film, Willie Soke (get it?), a misanthropic loser that likes the bottle a lot more than his fellow man. After a stint in jail, he is seen working a series of low paying and unsatisfying jobs. After two failed suicide attempts into his life walks Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly), a returning character from the original film, now 21 years old, but certainly none the wiser; he works at a sandwich shop, and his sensibilities are questionable. It isnít clear if the young man is mentally challenged or simply an idiot, but this issue is hardly investigated. There are some cheap attempts at laughs here as when Willie sticks his head into an electric range and when he tries to hang himself, but the laughs are fairly hollow. Thurman no longer believes that Willie is the real Santa, but now sees him as a father figure (this character surely has poor taste in setting goals and finding leadership, but hey this is a comedy, so roll with it). The naÔve lad has it in mind that Willie is going to ďpop his cherry.Ē Again, cue the laugh track. Willie explains that he will get someone to do the task and hires a prostitute, Opal (Octavia Spencer); the boy-man runs in horror from the motel room as Willie likewise flees in disgust.

Meeting up with freshly sprung partner from jail partner Marcus (Tony Cox) the two make amends in order to combine forces to pull a heist for a hefty $2 million in Chicago, but the kicker is that it is from a charity and yes, wait for it, Willie will have to once again don the red and white suit and false beard. Not only that but Willieís hated foul mouth mother Sunny (Kathy Bates) is a key partner in the scheme and Willie is going to have to find a way to work with her. Oh, yes, you see this is a comedy about family and forgiveness and making amends. That sliver of a plot line is sandwiched in between the profanity that all three lead characters spew along with the writerís twisted sense of family dynamics and dysfunctional humor along the way. "Itís a Wonderful Life" (1946) this ainít, but possibly this is what serves for an updated version of the holiday classic. Believe me; the laughs werenít coming fast and furious for this reviewer. Director Mark Waters delights in the pre-adolescent sense of humor that ends up hitting below the belt frequently and hard, going for the cheapest and most available type of humor possible. We get jokes about midgets, sexual diseases, penis size, and, of course, the ever reliable Billy Bob Thornton potty mouth. Screenwriters Johnny Rosenthal and Shauna Cross are responsible for the non-stop salacious and misogynistic material.

Next up we meet Diane (Christina Hendricks) she is the founder of the charity that the misanthropes are going to rob blind, but you see its okay because her husband, Regent Hastings (Ryan Hansen) is embezzling money and having an affair with an employee as well, so the robbery is justified somehow. Willie beats another Santa with the red donation bucket and lands in jail. After Diane warns Willie about drinking while on the job, she offers to take him to an AA meeting; it seems that her weakness is alcohol too but she also becomes a woman with a very low and loose moral code. After a scene that was more embarrassing than humorous that depicts Willie and Diane having some quick passionless sex in a dirty alleyway, Willie is given a second chance. Poor Miss Hendricks is stuck in a non-rewarding role cast more for her curves than her dramatic capacity; I hope that she gets a new agent so we can see her actually act again. Meanwhile Marcus is assigned the task of retrieving the keys to the breaker room from a curvy security guard (Jenny Zigrino), and this ends up being played for cheap laughs as well. In fact the whole film is played hard for cheap laughs and the entire production sags like a bad mattress in a cheap motel room. I did not see the first film, but it constantly felt as if the gags in this film were grimly being ground out by the actorís, their payday the only thing feeling remotely rewarding. I couldn't help but wonder what someone like John Waters could have done with this material; possibly the offensive material would have had a more telling bite and the sarcasm would have hit the mark more often than it does.

The chemistry between Sunny and Willie is sour and nasty, but there are these forced moments of tenderness where Sunny tries not to cough up a lung while she and Willie try to patch things up between themselves, but the emotional reading is flat lined by obscenity and a bad script. The entire climax of the film is the big caper and the stealing of the money, but only after the three leads has a standoff in the alley behind the mission; Marcus tries once again to kill his partner. This all leads to a scene that is reminiscent of the last scene in Stanley Kubrickís robbery gone wrong film, "The Killing" (1956), except now we have the money falling into a gathering of Santaís. Ho, ho, ho, guess what audiences, the joke is on us for this complete waste of time. My overall opinion of this film is to avoid it if you can, perhaps rent the first "Bad Santa" (2003) if you really need a holiday fix, but this sequel is nothing to write home about.

This disc features both the "Unrated" version of the film which runs fir 94 minutes 50 seconds as well as the original "Theatrical" version which runs for 92 minutes 16 seconds.

Video

Presented in 1:85:1 widescreen, mastered in HD 1080p 24/fps using AVC MPEG-4 codec compression. The picture is excellent with all colors being bright and outstanding.

Audio

The Sound mix is presented in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround, as well as an option in Spanish DTS 5.1 surround. There are 30 popular Christmas songs on the soundtrack including "Winter Wonderland" by Bob Dylan. The soundtrack is pretty solid, nothing to complain about here. Optional subtitles are included in English for the hearing impaired and Spanish.

Extras

There are some supplements on this disc, mainly in the form of some short featurettes, deleted scenes, gag reel, an alternate opening & ending, additional clips, and a collection of bonus trailers. Below is a closer look at these supplements.

Alternate opening (1:00), a gleeful look into Willieís life as a mop pushing employee at an nameless store featuring him in the liquor aisle. 


Alternate ending (2:49), not much better than the planned ending featuring Willie and a large prostitute on the make and a unnecessary anal sex reference. 


Deleted scenes (2:41), this makes you wonder why the director needed to cut these scenes out, featuring all the gems that ended up on the cutting room floor.

Gag reel (3:59), reading those words with this film has a bad connotation for me. A mini reel of flubbed lines, out takes and other questionable material. 



"Thurman Then and Now" featurette (2:27) A quick look at just that, comparing a younger more innocent Thurman with the great actor that he has become, plus he had to gain an additional 50 pounds for this role.


"Just Your Average Red Band Featurette" (2:00) is a time wasting featurette of various scenes from the film.

Original animated series ďThatís My WillieĒ (3:51) Accompanied by poorly animated drawings and narrated by Brett Kelly, this will really cause some guffaws. For purists only. 


"Jingle Balls" clips (0:35) At least this was mildly amusing, an obscenity ridden chorus that follows the tune of Jingle Bells. Delightful.

Bonus trailers are included for:

- "The Infiltrator"
- "A Walk In the Woods"
- "99 Homes"
- "The Dark Horse"
- "Bridget Jonesís Baby"
- "Last Days in the Desert"
- "Knight of Cups"
- "Song of Lahore"
- "Break Point"
- "10000 KM"
- "Samba"
- "Eden"
- "I Smile Back"
- "Learning to Drive"

Packaging

Packaged in a standard blu-ray keep case.

Overall

A questionable film overall missing all of the charm of the first film, this sequel is only for die hard Billy Bob Thornton and Tony Cox cultists. Kathy Bates brings a touch of class to the film but it hardly shines with comic genius. Christina Hendricks is basically the living, breathing punch line to several poor jokes featuring references to her breasts. Oh, itís bad alright; I am sure that they loved this in various penitentiaries and other forced group housing situations.

The Film: D+ Video: A Audio: A Extras: B- Overall: C

 


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