It pains me to put the sequel to one of my favourite Christmas movies on this list, but after all those years waiting for a sequel that was worthy of the original, I’m pissed off.
I watch Bad Santa every year, much like Die Hard (which has now been proven as NOT be a Christmas movie, but it ain’t Christmas until Hans Gruber falls off Nakatomi Plaza) it’s an annual ritual that has to be fulfilled. I recall one pre-Netflix Christmas when I was moving house, my Die Hard DVD had not made the journey along with a box of other beloved belongings (I was saving those plastic bags for something, honest). After many years, I was unwillingly parted from my trusty Die Hard DVD forever. I didn’t have time to grieve, it was lunchtime on Christmas Eve, and I had to brave the shops to find a copy of Die Hard.
Having already completed my festive shopping weeks in advance, I prepared myself for the war that is attempting to go shopping on Christmas Eve. Twenty manic riddled minutes later I was out the door, at no time did I question my motives or think “does it really matter that much?”. I was on a mission, a simple easy mission, and one that would be easier if I had a quick meal deal based lunch first. Nipping into the local Mega Supermarket Store that shall remain nameless, I’ll call it Jestco, I swiftly grabbed a sandwich, a bag of crisps and a fruit-based soft drink. A fellow shopper had the same great idea to take advantage of this meal deal offer that the youngsters like, but what do I glance in her basket, a DVD of Die Hard.
Instinctively, I plot and scheme a scheme to swipe the DVD out of her basket by distracting her with some brilliant misdirection or strike up a witty conversation. Then I remembered that the only thing I’m worse at than misdirection is striking up witty conversations with strangers. Using my Sherlock Holmes level powers of deduction, I deduced that there is likely a fuckton of Die Hard DVDs in the DVD section of Jestco. Like a child at Christmas, I merrily skipped to the DVD section and started scanning the shelves for my intended purchase.
As my eyes frantically searched for Die Hard to no avail, my hopes quickly began to dwindle, could it be that I was going to skip watching it this year? I was pretty sure I had a copy of Die Hard 4.0 knocking around, but that’s like watching Bad Santa 2 when you really want to watch the first one. Oh yeah, sorry, I got sidetracked there with the Die Hard story and forgot this was a Bad Santa 2 review.
Arriving 13 years after the original, Bad Santa 2 had been trapped in development hell for much of that time, and the movie that clawed its way into existence is a mean-spirited mess. The first film countered its mean-spirited nature through the wide-eyed optimism of young Thurman. Willie (Billy Bob Thornton) is a cantankerous drunk, but Thurman’s goodness eventually causes Willie to do the right thing. Sadly, any shred of good-naturedness is mostly absent with Bad Santa 2 sinking to cheap laughs, cruelity, and trading on former glories. It’s the Die Hard equivalent of A Good Day To Die Hard, the title suggests its a sequel to that film you liked, but the movie you watch has little in common with what came before.
Comedy sequels are a tricky beast to get right, and Bad Santa 2 fails its way onto the naughty list. Oh, and I found a copy of Die Hard at Jestco reasonably priced in case you wondered. Yippee ki-yay father snowman!