Bad Santa 2 online movie review - "Bad Santa 2" is slightly better than the original, but like 2003's "Bad Santa", this one is bad too.
Billy Bob Thornton is one bad dude? on screen at least ? and he's good at being bad.
His first starring film role was as a murderer in 1996's "Sling Blade" ? earning him a Best Actor Oscar for his efforts ? and then there was his racist prison guard in 2001's "Monster's Ball". But most of Thornton's bad guys have been in comedies, such as the sadistic high school gym teacher in "Mr. Woodcock" (2007) ? and in 2006 he actually ran the "School for Scoundrels". Of course, some of his bad roles are actually "Bad" roles ? in more ways than one. In 2005, he starred as the disagreeable little league coach in the underwhelming remake "Bad News Bears". In 2003, he showed us what a "Bad Santa" looks like and, in 2016, well? he reminded us in "Bad Santa 2" (R, 1:32). So, is that just another clever name for a movie, or should Movie Fans take the title as a reflection of the movie's quality? The answer depends on how you define "Bad".
Willie Soke (Thornton) is about a dozen years older, but not a bit wiser. He's still an alcoholic (which, we find out, cost him his chance at a happy ending with Sue, his girlfriend from the first film). He's still (ineptly) suicidal ? and as crude, rude and sex-obsessed (and as bad at keeping a job) as ever ? and he's still being followed around his adopted home town of Phoenix by Thurman Merman, AKA "the kid". Thurman (Brett Kelly) is turning 21 and wants Willie to keep a promise to "pop his cherry" (even though Thurman doesn't even know what that means). A disgusted Willie explains that he's not going to do that personally, but he'll arrange to have it done, which he tries to do, by linking Thurman up with an old friend from the first film, a prostitute named Opal (again played by Oscar winner Octavia Spencer).
Willie's old partner-in-crime (literally), Marcus Skidmore (Tony Cox), shows up to offer him a chance at his biggest payday ever for a single "job". Willie reluctantly goes with Marcus to Chicago, only to find out that the job is to rob a charity, which Willie objects to, not because he'd be indirectly stealing from underprivileged kids, but because he thinks there's not enough money in it. Willie's even more upset to learn that, in order to be in a position to steal the money, he has to volunteer with "Giving Way" ? by putting on the Santa suit again ? and the mastermind of this robbery is his hated mother, Sunny (Oscar winner Kathy Bates). As soon as Willie sees her, he punches her in the face. She just laughs at him and resumes calling him her pet name for him ? "Shit Stick" (which she crudely explains later in the movie).
Marcus (after apologizing again for trying to kill Willie the last time they worked together) gets him to agree to do the job, by guaranteeing a large haul of cash and promising that the two of them will cut Sunny out at the end. As Willie, Marcus and Sunny dress up respectively as Santa, his elf and Mrs. Claus, they lay the groundwork for their planned Christmas Eve heist. Willie cozies up to Giving Way's co-president, Diane (Christina Hendricks), whose husband, Regent (Ryan Hansen), is (unbeknownst to her) cheating on her ? and embezzling from Giving Way (but there's also more to Diane than meets the eye). Marcus crawls through the air ducts in Giving Way's building to get the details they need to do the job, and also tries to romance a security guard named Gina (Jenny Zigrino), so he can steal her keys. Sunny coaches the other two from the sidelines, while acting more like a mother to Willie than she has been in many years. When Regent gets suspicious of Willie and Marcus, he has his clueless head of security, Dorfman (Jeff Skowron), start spying on them. Complicating things further, Thurman finds out that Willie is in Chicago and just shows up, hoping to spend Christmas with the closest thing he has to a real friend.
"Bad Santa 2" isn't as bad a movie as 2003's "Bad Santa", but that ain't saying much. The overwhelming torrent of swearing, insults and other crudities overshadow the few genuinely funny jokes in the script from "Santa" newcomers Johnny Rosenthal and Shauna Cross. Likewise, someone should have told Mark Waters what the director of the original should've learned ? that a few decent sight gags can't make up for a dearth of actual humor. The three stars look about as unhappy with being in this movie as their characters are with their lives ? or most Movie Fans are likely to be with this sequel, while Hansen and Skowron make poor substitutes for the foils played by the late actors Bernie Mac and John Ritter in the first film. On the other hand, the sequel does have a better story (and ending), a few more laughs and more heart than "Bad Santa". Unfortunately, much like that one, "Bad Santa 2" is pretty bad too. "C-"