Bad Santa 2
|Bad Santa 2|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Mark Waters|
by Glenn Ficarra
|Music by||JP Cunningham|
|Cinematography||Theo van de Sande|
|Edited by||Travis Sittard|
|Distributed by||Broad Green Pictures|
|Box office||$15.8 million|
Bad Santa 2 is a 2016 American Christmas black comedy crime film directed by Mark Waters and written by Shauna Cross and Johnny Rosenthal. A sequel to the 2003 film Bad Santa, the film stars Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, Brett Kelly, Kathy Bates, and Christina Hendricks, and features criminals Willie and Marcus again teaming up to work as Santa and an elf, respectively, this time to rob a Chicago charity on Christmas Eve.
Principal photography began on January 11, 2016 in Montreal, and the film was released in the United States on November 23, 2016 by Broad Green Pictures. It received generally negative reviews and has grossed over $15 million worldwide so far.
The film starts with Willie Soke (Thornton) working as a valet driver at a country club. He gets distracted when he sees a woman breast-feeding her baby, causing him to crash into a stand and knock someone over. Willie gets fired on the spot after arguing with his superiors.
Willie's voiceover catches us up on the last few years of his life. He thought he got his happy ending by being with Sue, but his screw-ups caught up to him before she left him. He prepares to kill himself by sticking his head in the oven. When that doesn't work, he tries to hang himself. His suicide attempt is interrupted by Thurman Merman (Kelly), now 21 years old and dumber than ever, still following Willie around even though he no longer believes he's Santa Claus. He even works at a sandwich shop now to fulfill his passion for making people sandwiches. Willy drops from the ceiling as he tries to stop his suicide.
Thurman mentions that now that he's 21, he thinks Willie is going to "pop his cherry". Willie corrects him saying he would get it done by someone else. He calls Opal the prostitute (Spencer) to do the job, even though she isn't very willing. Thurman runs out of the motel room in a panic.
Willie gets an unexpected visit from his old partner Marcus (Cox), fresh out of prison. He mentions there's a job that needs to be worked on for $2 million in Chicago. Willie isn't very willing to join Marcus since he tried to kill him on their last job, but Marcus has apologized for that.
Willie and Marcus arrive in Chicago for Willie to discover that Marcus wants to rob Giving Way, a charity foundation. To make matters worse for Willie, not only does Marcus expect him to put on a Santa suit once more, he discovers that one of the people working on the charity is his horrible mother, Sunny (Bates), who constantly refers to Willie as "shit stick". Willie punches her in the face and storms out, telling Marcus he has absolutely no intention of working with his mother.
Marcus and Sunny later meet with Willie in her apartment to discuss the whole deal with their plan. Sunny claims she's got Parkinson's and has a really bad cough. Willie still refuses to work with her until Marcus tries to talk him into it. Willie finally decides that he'll do the job, but once it's over, he and Marcus are cutting Sunny off.
Willie puts on the Santa suit to go out and collect money for charity. Another Santa comes by and thinks Willie is operating on his turf. Although he calmly tries to get Willie to leave, Willie accuses the man of being a pervert and starts beating the crap out of him in front of a crowd before Willie gets arrested. Meanwhile, Marcus is crawling through a vent to locate the safe when he comes across the charity's manager, Regent Hastings (Hansen), is having an affair with his assistant and is also embezzling money from the charity already. Marcus nearly gets found out when Sunny calls him and his ringtone goes off.
After Willie gets bailed out, he must go to an AA meeting with Diane (Hendricks), Regent's wife. Afterwards, she talks about her struggle with alcohol addiction and how it led her to do dirty things. Willie thinks she's asking for it and tries to put the moves on her, but she is disgusted and kicks him out of the car. Moments later, Diane drives up to him and admits she does want sex since she and Regent haven't been intimate in over a decade. Willie then does it with Diane behind a dumpster in an alley. They don't know they're being followed by Dorfman (Skowron), a Giving Way security guard who Regent hired to take pictures of the two.
Marcus tries to get a key to the charity's safe by attempting to seduce Gina (Zigrino), another security guard. After taking her out for a fancy dinner, Marcus tries to go to bed with her, but she turns him down because of his height.
Willie meets up with Diane and they do it on some Christmas trees. He asks that she call him Santa like Sue did, so she does.
Willie reluctantly starts to bond with Sunny as she tries to get close to him again. He notices how bad her cough is, so he steals some medicine from a pharmacy for her. Sunny later gives Willie a gun in case Marcus tries to double-cross him again.
Sunny later gets Willie to have sex with Gina for the keys since he has a thing for big girls. Gina is satisfied and Willie takes her keys. Marcus becomes upset after learning this and tries to attack Willie, but Willie manages to slam him onto a table.
Thurman has traveled all the way from Arizona to Chicago to be with Willie after learning that he went there himself. Willie is utterly displeased to see this and tries to leave Thurman somewhere alone before feeling guilty and deciding to drop Thurman off at a shelter full of degenerates to get him out of his hair. Thurman later goes by the charity and sees the children singing. He manages to get the director to let him sing as well, and she gives him a Santa suit to put on, which excites him.
Willie, Marcus, and Sunny prepare for the robbery as the charity is holding its event where the children are singing. Sunny takes out the lights while Willie and Marcus try to open the safe. Willie stops and sees Thurman getting up to sing in his Santa suit. Willie is surprised to see that Thurman has a lovely voice, and it even moves him to tears. When Willie and Marcus finally open the safe, Marcus reveals he really was trying to double-cross Willie. Willie gets his gun and gets the money out of there before the guards come after them.
Willie and Marcus bring the money outside, but Sunny reveals that she was going to take the money all for herself. She shoots Marcus in the chest and runs him over with her van as she tries to get away. Willie goes after her and chases her into SantaCon. Willie manages to find her, and Sunny ends up shooting Willie as well. He grabs her bag and lets all the money fly out. Sunny tries to shoot Willie again, but Thurman shows up and jumps in, getting himself shot in the butt. The cops arrive and arrest Sunny while the medics take Willie and Thurman away.
Willie wakes up in the hospital getting a handjob from Diane, meaning he finally got his "happy ending". His voiceover reveals that he tipped the cops off about Sunny, meaning he managed to avoid jailtime once again. Regent's embezzlement scheme was discovered and he was booted from the charity. He has decided to keep Thurman around as company since he has decided his new family is way better than his old one. Willie now works as a janitor in the hospital, and he finds Marcus's room. He considers smothering him to death, but Willie gets his revenge by teabagging a helpless Marcus and posting pictures on Instagram.
- Billy Bob Thornton as Willie Soke
- Kevin Fyfe as Young Willie
- Kathy Bates as Sunny Soke
- Tony Cox as Marcus Skidmore
- Christina Hendricks as Diane
- Brett Kelly as Thurman Merman
- Ryan Hansen as Regent
- Jenny Zigrino as Gina
- Jeff Skowron as Dorfman
- Octavia Spencer as Opal (cameo)
In 2009, Billy Bob Thornton first mentioned the sequel to the 2003 film Bad Santa, with an aim for release at Christmas 2011. On December 16, 2010, it was announced that Miramax and The Weinstein Company had signed on an agreement to develop sequels including one for Bad Santa. On March 18, 2011, TheWrap reported that Weinstein confirmed the sequel and negotiations had begun with Thornton to return for the lead role. On July 14, 2011, Los Angeles Times confirmed that Dimension Films and other producers on the film, including Geyer Kosinski, had hired two writers Johnny Rosenthal and John Phillips to work on the screenplay. The sequel was scheduled to begin shooting in fall 2012 for a December 2013 release. On July 30, 2012, it was reported that Steve Pink was in early talks with the studio to rewrite and direct the film. On May 30, 2013, it was revealed that Miramax has hired Entourage creator Doug Ellin to rewrite the script, and to possibly direct the sequel.
In October 2014, Thornton confirmed that the sequel was in development, adding "We're never gonna beat the first one but you got to get as close as you can." On October 29, 2015, it was confirmed that Thornton would return to play Willie in Bad Santa 2, and that filming would begin in Montreal in January 2016, for a scheduled release of Christmas 2016. Miramax and Broad Green Pictures would co-finance the film, with Broad Green also distributing the film in the United States, and Sierra/Affinity handling the international sales for the film. On November 3, 2015, it was announced that Mean Girls director Mark Waters would direct the film from a script by Rosenthal, Ellin, and Shauna Cross, while Brett Kelly and Tony Cox from the first film also signed on to return.
On November 19, 2015, it was announced that Kathy Bates would join the cast as Willie's foul-mouthed mother, while Andrew Gunn would also produce the film, along with Kosinski. Originally, Rosenthal had written the character as Willie's father, Earl, but Cross believed changing the character to Willie's mother would be funnier. Cross explained, "I think that while there’s something funny about an absentee father, the terrible father figure is played out. You’re screwed if you have a bad dad, but you’re extra screwed if you have a mother who is that terrible. It almost seemed to thematically show the origins and set the tone of what the original film was about." Rosenthal agreed with the change, adding, "Seeing Earl turn into Sunny didn’t change anything story-wise. You wouldn’t notice much of a difference between the two – they were both chauvinistic, misogynistic, racist, abusive alcoholics. But I think it was a great choice just to add a little estrogen, no matter how testosterone-fueled it was. I think that switch only added to the humor of the finished product." Cross was convinced that only one actress was right for the part, saying, "I think the minute we had the idea to make it the mom I only pictured Kathy Bates as that person. It had to be her. I think I kept calling her 'Kathy' while I was writing her even before we had her."
On January 6, 2016, Christina Hendricks joined the cast, playing the head of a charitable organization. On January 11, 2016, more cast was added to the film, including Ryan Hansen, Jenny Zigrino, Jeff Skowron, and Kevin McGuire.
In December 2015, it was announced that Bad Santa 2 would be released on November 23, 2016 by Broad Green Pictures in America, while Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions would handle worldwide distribution. The first promotional trailer for the film was released on August 9, 2016.
Bad Santa 2 opened alongside Moana, Rules Don't Apply and Allied, and was expected to gross $15–20 million from 2,920 theaters over its first five days. The film ended up grossing $9 million over its first five days ($6.1 million in its opening weekend), finishing below expectations and 8th at the box office. It was also down 46% from the five-day opening of the first film, which made $16.8 million in 2003.
Bad Santa 2 received generally negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 23%, based on 104 reviews, with an average rating of 4.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Loaded up with the same scatological and misanthropic humor as its predecessor but precious little of its heart or genuine wit, Bad Santa 2 presents a foulmouthed shadow of Christmas past." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 38 out of 100, based on 36 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C+" on an A+ to F scale.
IGN critic Alex Welch gave it a 5/10, writing that it "does little to dispel the notion that most sequels simply aren't necessary." Kyle Smith for the New York Post described it as "vulgar, nasty and offensive, but it has flawed aspects also", and "so raunchy, you may feel the urge to wash your ears out with soap, not that the language is the only dirty thing about it." Ben Kenigsberg for The New York Times also found the movie wanting, although praised Kathy Bates' performance. Vince Mancini for Uproxx said that the sequel will make [one] appreciate the original, and criticised the film's humour as "plug-to-play one liners", while also taking notice that the film "isn’t terrible". Amy Nicholson for MTV mockingly referred to the film as Badly Traumatized Santa, and wrote that "[it] doesn't hate Christmas. It just hates women."
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- Official website
- Bad Santa 2 at the Internet Movie Database
- Bad Santa 2 at AllMovie
- Bad Santa 2 at Box Office Mojo
- Bad Santa 2 at Metacritic
- Bad Santa 2 at Rotten Tomatoes