Instantly qualifying as a perennial cult favorite, Bad Santa is as nasty as it wants to be, and there''s something to be said for comedy without compromise. The Coen brothers conceived the basic idea and served as executive producers, but it''s director Terry Zwigoff (Crumb, Ghost World) who brings his unique affinity for losers and outcasts to the twisted tale of Willie T. Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton), a hard-drinking, chain-smoking, foul-mouthed sexaholic safe-cracker who targets a different department store every holiday season, playing Santa while he cases the joint with his dwarf elf-partner Marcus (Tony Cox). With comedic support from Bernie Mac, Lauren Graham, Cloris Leachman, and John Ritter in his final film, Thornton milks the lowbrow laughs with a slovenly lack of sentiment, warming Bad Santa''s pickled heart just enough to please a chubby misfit (Brett Kelly, hilariously deadpan) who may or may not be mentally challenged. As dry as an arid martini and blacker than morning-after coffee, Bad Santa is an instant cure for yuletide schmaltz, and if you think this appropriately R-rated comedy is suitable for kids, your parenting skills are no better than Willie''s. --Jeff Shannon
The baddest Santa ever comes to town with the hilarious Billy Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac, and John Ritter! Ill-mannered store Santa Willie Stokes (Thornton) is really a safecracker with a holiday tradition of making one big score every Christmas Eve with his clever Elf-partner-in- crime Marcus. But this year''s heist-fest could be completely foiled by a snoopy store manager (Ritter), savvy mall detective (Mac), sexy Santa fan, and an innocent 8 year old misfit who thinks the intoxicated and felonious Willie is the real Santa he seeks. Forget the cookies and milk; this is the gritty gut busting comedy Rolling Stone pegs as "a Christmas perennial for Scrooges of all ages!"
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