"Bad Santa" is correct. This is the worst Santa fathomable. Belligerent. Grouchy. Drunk. It's pretty much what a rollicking Christmas comedy needs—and I daresay that the coming slew of Christmas cinema will be nowhere as obscene as this.
Obscenity aside, there are a great many laughs to be had from a great many things. For example, the weird relationships that exist between each of the characters. Each of these relationships is well played upon for a more complete comedic experience.
Much of the movie is used to give the audience a feel for how rotten this Santa really is—taking advantage of a child and his feeble grandmother, stealing from stores after hours, blackmail, and dirty sex in the changerooms of a nearby alterations store.
Billy Bob Thornton seems to have the role of an alcoholic vagrant (maybe there's another kind?) dialled, and that short midget guy sure did play a great elf. There was some kind of electricity of magic between these two scamsters, and there's a shameful pleasure in watching "Santa" yell at or beat up children.
The soundtrack was both odd and disjointed—a combination of old-time Christmas songs and other stuff long forgotten after swilling large coffees and listening to raving freaks while waiting for a train.
It's better than not going to see a Christmas film where Santa gives one to the mother from Gilmore Girls.
Reviewed on Thursday, 11 November 2004