Thursday, October 21, 2004

Bad, Bad Santa

Two of my favorite movie reviewers have raved to me for some time about Bad Santa, so I moved it to the top of my Netflix queue and watched it for my Thursday night movie night.

Ever met a little kid who says or does something naughty, and all the grownups laugh, so he does it again and again and again? Remember how annoyed you were by that kid?

That's how I felt about Bad Santa. Yup, lots of reviewers liked it. Yup, my two favorite reviewers liked it. But I was so bored that I stopped the DVD half way through and seriously considered whether this thing was worth another hour. I watched the rest, in case it got better. It didn't.

The central gag of Bad Santa is that the guy who plays Santa is a late-stage alcoholic who has completely lost control of his life, except for his considerable talent as a safecracker. There's shock value the first couple of times that Billy Bob Thornton does or says something you don't expect from a guy in a Santa suit, but after that, it's all downhill. There are some moments of inspired craziness, but they aren't most of the movie. Lauren Graham is wonderful as Sue, the barkeep with a Santa fetish-- for a little while I thought she was going to save the movie, but then she became a running joke that went nowhere.

So call me a Grinch, but I give Bad Santa a big thumb's down.


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