Badder Santa -
Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, Lauren Graham, Brett Kelly, Lauren
Tom, John Ritter, Bernie Mac
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Date: June 22, 2004
Review posted: June 30, 2004
You'd better watch
out - Santa Claus Willie T. Stokes (Thornton) is coming to town
and he doesn't care if you've been naughty or nice.
Willie's favorite holiday tradition is to fill his sacks with loot
lifted from shopping malls across the
country. But this
year his plot gets derailed by a wisecracking store detective
bartender (Graham) and a kid (Kelly) who's convinced Willie is the
real Santa Claus!
Bad Santa is
a hilarious black comedy with enough good/bad jokes, profanity,
and a somewhat skewed heartwarming story. Funny or not, at least
it gets one thing right: being offensive. At least 150 variations
of the f-word are uttered, but that didn't affect me from enjoying
the story and the performances. Several scenes are pretty mean and
vulgar, but director Terry Zwigoff (Ghost World) succeeds
at showing us (in fun form) a Santa who isn't nice, a man who
practically lives on booze without regard or signs of compassion
for many people.
Billy Bob Thornton
impresses, and young actor Brett Kelly is awesome, always keeping
a straight face even though Thornton's Willie is mostly an
obnoxious ass. Willie's partner in crime is played by Tony Cox
(most memorable as Shonte Jackson the limo driver in Me, Myself
& Irene); he does a fantastic job conveying the aggravation of
cleaning up after Willie, motivating him, and staying ahead of the
game. In fact, I laughed the hardest during his scene in the
boxing gym that involves a punch to the crotch. Bernie Mac's
appearance is too light, although John Ritter's final feature film
appearance is a good one. Lauren Graham of TV's Gilmore Girls
makes a sexy impression as a lonely girl who fancies herself some
This review is based
on Badder Santa, an unrated version of the film that
incorporates some five minutes of "naughty" footage, whatever that
means. The new stuff is mostly scene extensions comprised of,
among a few other things, more explicit (but not really) sexual
innuendo. There's at least six more seconds of Willie humping the
girl in front of the pinball machine, and so forth. The additional
scenes don't improve on the theatrical version, however. It's kind
of fun to see more sex-related stuff and profanity, but it's not
Buena Vista presents
Badder Santa in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Colors are
bright and clean. Image quality looks pretty nice without major
faults. Some images look soft. Definition looks good, while
sharpness is average. Several instances of grain are evident,
but compression artifacts do not appear. Black levels and dark
tones look good, but are inconsistent. Overall, quite a nice
presentation that's perfectly alright.
Buena Vista presents
Badder Santa in English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround. Dialog
is clear and easy to understand. I especially like the clarity
with all the profanity and jokes. Much of the soundtrack is
located in the front, but the two front speakers do a very nice
job of emitting the sound; positional audio works well. The
presentation also gives the songs and music score a good time.
This is not the best surround sound experience you'll have, but
it's an overall good presentation.
Well, for a film
that performed surprisingly well at the box office late last
year (a total of $60 mil domestic) I was expecting the DVD to
feature better bells and whistles than what's available on this
"unrated version" of the film, entitled "Badder Santa".
Instead we get a selection of rather forgettable material. An
audio commentary by the director and the cast (especially
Thornton and Cox) could've been genius! But no such thing to
deleted and alternate scenes, two are kind of funny, the
other one ain't. At a total of six minutes, we get a scene with
Sarah Silverman (School of Rock, TV's Greg the Bunny), and three alternate takes of
a confrontation between Willie and a security guard at the mall. Mild fun, but
overall nothing special.
Next is Bad
Santa: Not Your Typical Christmas Movie, a 10-minute
behind-the-scenes special composed of film clips and short
interviews with the director and assorted cast and crew members,
including actors Thornton, Tony Cox, Lauren Graham, Bernie Mac,
and Brett Kelly, and producers Sarah Aubrey and John Cameron.
This is all standard fare, though there are two interesting
pieces of trivia learned from it.
Exclusive to this
"unrated edition", but not really worth the hype, is the
2-minute Badder Santa gag reel. There's a little
too much goofiness happening here that's not all too funny. Eh.
The outtakes, however, are very funny, comprised
of mistakes and flubbed lines, lasting about four minutes.
Rounding out the extras are previews/sneak peeks for Scary
Movie 3, The Ladykillers, and My Baby's Daddy.
feature is organized into nineteen chapters. Inside the keepcase
DVD is a paper insert that lists scene selections.
Badder Santa is
simply a tiny but more raunchy, which is just fine, and those who saw
the film in the theater will want to check out this "unrated" DVD.
Video/audio quality is fine, and the extras are pretty much
forgettable. Still, Badder Santa comes recommended. It's a
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