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Bad Santa

Reviewed By Elaine Perrone
Posted 07/26/04 00:14:49

"A Christmas cookie that bites back."
5 stars (Awesome)

After serving my Thanksgiving dinner, distributing leftovers, and listening to my first Christmas CD, I ended my holiday kickoff with a screening of the very-much-for-adults-only, black-as-a-lump-of-coal romp, Bad Santa.

Billy Bob Thornton is Willie T. Soke, a foul-mouthed, foul-tempered, pants-wetting, blackout drunk, who, together with his partner Marcus (Tony Cox, who happens to be a black dwarf), celebrates the Christmas season by cutting a larcenous swath across the U.S.

Each December, the pair sets up shop in a different metropolis, taking jobs as department store Santa and his elf by day and closing out their stay in the city on Christmas Eve night, when they crack the mall's holiday-stuffed safe and help themselves to the retailers' merchandise, aided by a gift wish list supplied by Marcus' wife Lois (Lauren Tom).

Complications ensue when they land jobs in an upscale mall in Phoenix and come under the scrutiny of an understandably suspicious store manager, Bob Chipeska (the late, great John Ritter), and a wily security officer, Gin (Bernie Mac), who has larcenous ideas of his own.

Adding to the merriment is "The Kid," Thurman Merman, a shy, awkward, literally snot-nosed young boy (Brett Kelly), who takes a shine to "Santa" and lets him come live with him and his dotty grandmother (Cloris Leachman). Then there's Sue (Lauren Graham), a Jewish bartender who takes a shine of her own to Santa, with whom she celebrates her own brand of joy-to-the-world sex in a hot tub at Chez Merman.

Nothing, and no one, is sacred in this gleeful and unrepentant paean to political incorrectness, which skewers not only alcoholics, blacks, and dwarves but also gays, Italians and Jews, the elderly, and men who have anal sex with plus-size women.

Side-splittingly funny and the perfect alternative to the usual sweet holiday fare, Bad Santa is a mighty tasty-and-tart Christmas treat that bites back, hard!

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