The year of 2016 may just go down as the year of the sequel nobody asked for. From Neighbors 2, to Blair Witch, and a very forgettable sequel to Independence Day, there have been so many poor performing sequels that we’ve lost count. Bad Santa 2 may very well join the list, but unlike some of the movies on the above list it does have some good moments.
It’s been 13 years since the first Bad Santa movie came out starring Billy Bob Thornton as the alcoholic safe cracker Willie Soke, and in those 13 years it doesn’t seem like poor Willie has changed a whole lot. He still drinks to excess, still hangs around with Thurman Merman (the kid from the first film is all grown up physically, but not very much mentally), still engages in meaningless casual sex and still has a mouth on him that could make a sailor blush. There’s not a whole lot of a plot to this film other than Willie meeting up with his old partner Marcus Skidmore (Tony Cox) who convinces him to don the Santa suit once more and help him rob a charity in Chicago on Christmas. There is a mystery partner involved too, who turns out to be Willie’s long lost mother played by Kathy Bates. And the rest of the film, well let’s just say the rest of the film involves watching Willie and his partners interact with each other and the people around them.
The only reason this movie has any level of amusement whatsoever is because of Billy Bob Thornton. He plays Willie exactly the same way he did the first time around, and you can’t wait to hear what he says next. It’s his one-liners that really make the movie. The way he interacts with Tony Cox and Kathy Bates can make you laugh so hard that you miss the next joke. And speaking of Kathy Bates, you might think she is miscast in her role as Willie’s foul mouthed mother, but she holds her own. In fact she plays the role so well that you might end up seeing her pop up in other movies in similar roles now. While there might not be any problems with the characters themselves, the plot of the movie is rather thin and not at all interesting. You could have put the characters together in any setting, and you would think exactly the same thing about it. It’s really a one trick pony that was already played out in the first film 13 years ago. And the subplot with Thurman Merman didn’t add anything to the film whatsoever. In fact you feel sad for actor Brett Kelly who returned to the role after having a not very successful career after the first film.
Bad Santa 2 doesn’t really offer anything new to the franchise, and if you want to save yourself a few dollars and an hour and a half of your time, you might just go out and buy the original or watch it on Netflix. Bad Santa 2 does have its moments, and will make you laugh, but it’s an unnecessary sequel that isn’t nearly as good as the first.