It’s the trend nowadays to make sequels to successful films even if nobody asked for them.
Bad Santa came out 13 years ago and became an instant cult favourite – thanks to Billy Bob Thornton’s foul-mouthed Father Christmas – and it’s taken the writers that long to come up with this lazy and unfunny follow-up, which recycles familiar characters and needlessly introduces new ones.
Bad Santa 2 is like the fluoro green jumper your grandma has knitted as a Christmas gift – you’re excited until you actually tear off the wrapping paper and disappointment sets in.
The sequel follows Billy’s character Willie on another quest for booty, with Tony Cox returning as Marcus, promising Willie an easy job with a high return. This time he’s taking on a charity, begrudgingly, with the help of his mum (Kathy Bates). Willie inadvertently falls for the organisation’s head honcho (Christina Hendricks), and of course has no choice but to pursue his lust.
Bad Santa 2 lacks the pitch black wit of the original, but that’s not to say it doesn’t have its moments – there’s a sackful of ridiculously inappropriate and politically incorrect gags, usually at the expense of Cox. However, the overall impression is that it’s trying too hard to fill the sizeable boots of its predecessor, and ultimately falls short.
Billy Bob does a decent job returning to the titular role, even if he does look slightly bored at times. But the return of Brett Kelly as Thurman is poorly executed, as is the introduction of Billy’s monstrous mother Sunny, despite the perfect casting of Bates.
Fans of offensive comedy will probably get a few chuckles, but Bad Santa 2 is ultimately a festive fail.
In cinemas: November 24, 2016
Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates, Tony Cox
Directed by: Mark Waters