* out of four
Bad Santa 2 is a perfect example of the money-grubbing sequel. There is no reason for it to exist except to sucker dollars out of fans of the original movie. Bad Santa 2 doesn't have any artistic merits nor does it expand on the original's story. It's literally just a rehash and a pretty lousy one at that.
Billy Bob Thornton (in a weird looking Burt Reynolds wig) as drunken safe-cracker Willie Soke. It's Christmas time again and Willie is once again recruited by his former partner, little person Marcus (Tony Cox), to dress up as Santa Claus and rob a shady charity. Also involved in this heist is Willie's dead-beat mother, Sunny (Kathy Bates).
The now classic original Bad Santa, directed by Terry Zwigoff (Crumb, Ghost World) and written by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, has a smartly crafted caper plot and well-drawn characters. Just about every aspect of the sequel's screenplay, credited to Johnny Rosenthal and Shauna Cross, feels forced. From the heist plot to Willie's romance with the charity boss' wife (Christina Hendricks) to the inclusion of the now grown fat little blond kid, Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly), from the first film. In fact, the Thurman character seems so shoehorned in here, I really am wondering if they were only able to get actor Kelly at the last minute before production began and quickly and sloppily added his scenes. A few scattered laughs come courtesy of the profane insults here, but mostly these verbal face slaps are just gross and mean. And that's the biggest problem. Bad Santa 2 is nasty and doesn't have any heart.