The poster boy for the anti-holidays seems to have worn out his welcome two pictures in. As Bad Santa 2 failed to produce any laughs with the critics leading into the Christmas period. Billy Bob Thornton's lackluster reprisal of Willie T. Stokes: a drunk, foulmouthed and crooked individual, has been universally panned as the Broad Green Pictures production falls well short of the bar they set back in 2003.
Rolling Stone gave a scathing review to argue that the title is misleading, and not in a good way. "He's not a "bad" Santa so much as a strong contender for the worst one ever," said the publication. Ouch!
From Conviction To Crass As Santa Gets Crude
The first of the series, if it ends up being one, had a heart warming nature about it among the many moments of black humor. There was some beauty to the tragedy that coincided with the hilarity, yet the sequel turns up the gross to 11. All while Thornton looks to phone in the performance.
"It's that, deep down, there's a nagging sense that for all of Bad Santa 2's pottymouth talk, perversity regarding plus-size females and puke jokes, it simply does not have the courage of its crass convictions," explains Rolling Stone's David Fear. "The original believed in its sodden, everyone-sucks with every ounce of its hardened, pitch-black heart – ironically, its horriblness made it that much more humanistic (and hilarious). The sequel is closer to fool's coal: You can blow the thin patina of painted darkness off it with a breeze and find there's nothing underneath."
Critic: Do We Deserve Anything More?
Xan Brooks from The Guardian paints an even bleaker picture, stating that this might be as good as Thornton and co can get these days.
"This probably makes it the Christmas film we deserve, a fitting finale for the year as a whole, although is it too much to wish that the gags had been sharper and the plot just that little bit more developed?" asks Brooks.
As if to drive the warning home, the critic has a blunt message for those wanting to get some Christmas cheer at the movies with this film - buyer beware!
"It’s a font of tired jokes and off-colour routines; aggressive one minute, maudlin the next," argues Brooks. "Steer this one gently into a darkened room."
Don't make us say "We told you so!" Happy holidays.