Bad Santa (15)

Film

Comedy

Bad Santa

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Time Out says

Willie T Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton) is a shopping-mall Santa with a difference: a cynical, safe-cracking alcoholic with a penchant for sex with hefty women and a wholly unconcealed dislike of kids. Indeed, he only does the job as a cover for the felonies he perpetrates with Marcus (Tony Cox), his criminal-mastermind elf. But then Willie has two not-quite-life-changing encounters: one with self-confessed Santa-groupie Sue (Lauren Graham); the other with parentless eight-year-old Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly), whose innocence verges on idiocy and who happens to live in a mansion that’d make a great home for Willie. 

Admittedly, this black comedy – from an idea by the Coens and directed by the esteemed creator of ‘Crumb’ and ‘Ghost World’ – is pretty much a one-joke film; true, too, that at the very end it sweetens much of what’s gone before with a spoonful of sentimentality. But it is, for the most part, quite hilarious in its foul-mouthed malice and disenchantment with all things wholesome and familial; few films have been as funny about greed, lust, incontinence, midgets or kicks to the balls. The secret is that Terry Zwigoff, Thornton et al play it straight (though a few scenes featuring the store manager and a mall detective are far less funny – reputedly they were added by another director after Zwigoff refused to pad the film out to the more conventional running time requested by Miramax). Wonderfully tasteless, gloriously non-PC, admirably bilious; humourless souls should steer clear.

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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Nov 5, 2004

Duration:

93 mins

Cinemas showing Bad Santa

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The Screen On The Green

83 Upper St, London, N1 ONU Show map/details

  • Address:

    The Screen On The Green 83 Upper St
    London
    N1 ONU

  • Transport:

    Tube: Angel; Bus: 38, 43, 73

  • Map

    1. The Screen On The Green
      • 83 Upper St
        London
        N1 ONU
      • 51.536508,-0.103719
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  • Sat Dec 20:

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