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Bad Santa 2

review by Bobby Blakey

To this day one of the funniest holiday films is that of 2003s Bad Santa starring Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, Brett Kelly, Lauren Graham and the late greats Bernie mac and John Ritter. This wasn’t a film that needed a follow up as it holds up as hilarious to this day, but the sheer fun of these characters made fans want more. Now 13 years later fans are getting their wish with the aptly titled Bad Santa 2 featuring the most of the main cast including Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, Brett Kelly and Octavia Spencer as well as Christina Hendricks, Ryan Hansen, and Kathy Bates, but does it bring more of the same raunchy fun or will it be a sequel not worth toasting to? 

Bad Santa 2 fueled by cheap whiskey, greed and hatred, Willie teams up once again with his angry little sidekick, Marcus, to knock off a Chicago charity on Christmas Eve. Mommy issues arise when the pair are joined by Willie's horror story of a mother, Sunny Soke. A super butch super bitch, Sunny raises the bar for the gang's ambitions, while somehow lowering the standards of criminal behavior. Willie is further burdened by lusting after the curvaceous and prim Diane, the charity director with a heart of gold and libido of steel. While I was really excited to see this sequel based on my sheer love for the original film, I was still trying to keep my expectations low wondering how well it would hold up after so long. Thankfully I think that helped me to enjoy the film way more than I might have otherwise. The beginning of the film works pretty well when you have Thornton and Kelly together. Kelly is no longer the chubby funny kid he was in the original, but instead an adult that looks pretty much the same with the same fun and ridiculous mentality. His dialogue from the original film is some of my favorite of all time and he delivers more of the same this time around.

Sadly he is absent from the film for a little bit and the film limps along at times without the two of them together. Sure we get more of the racists and bigot rants between Thornton and Cox that will have fans laughing, but after a while it gets redundant. The story itself is pretty much a rehash of the first with the addition of the always great Kathy Bates who seems to be having a lot of fun and plays off and against Thornton great. There are moments between them that come off a bit forced and you know where it is all likely going, but there is just enough laughs to keep you invested. There are plenty of rehashed jokes throughout and somehow still work, but none really stand out like they did the first time around. Thankfully they do bring more time for Thornton and Kelly to share the screen and see their relationship continue despite how bizarre it is. These are the moments that make this latest entry worth checking out.

Like most sequels this one doesn’t quite live up to the original, but a lot of that is likely due to the unexpected nature of the original. Here fans of the first film have expectations and there is no way that it could have ever lived up to that, but instead uses the same formula to create something pretty fun while never veering to far from average. This is a part that was tailor made for Thornton and he does a great job returning to the role and I for one loved seeing him and Thurman Murman back together for the holidays.   

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