Rated R; running time of 90 minutes
Written by:John Requa and Glenn Ficarra
Directed by: Terry Zwigoff
Cast: Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac, Lauren Graham, John Ritter, Tony Cox, Brett Kelly
WARNING - SPOILERS BELOW.
Willie (Billy Bob Thornton) is a vile human being. He drinks like a fish; smokes like a chimney; and curses like a sailor.
All of this isn't so bad except for the fact that his does this in front of children while he is dressed as Santa.
Willie is a mall Santa and his partner Marcus, is a midget who works with him as elf. Each year they travel to a different part of the
country and hire themselves out as Santa and his little helper. Why do they do this? Because they are actually crooks.
Willie is a safe cracker and Marcus is his look out. They set up at a mall and then eventually steal all the money and whatever trinkets Marcus' wife wants.
This used to work just fine, but as Willie's drinking has increased, so has his erratic behavior. This increase puts their livelihood
at risk. Compounding the situation is the fact that a young boy who Willie just calls "The Kid" (Brett Kelly) has taken to Santa.
The Kid is picked on and treated like dirt, but he doesn't let it stop him. He trudges on continuing to believe in Christmas and
Santa even when Santa cusses him out; invades his house; and destroys his favorite holiday gift.
But once Willie forces himself into The Kid's house and sees that he really doesn't have anyone looking after him.
And once Willie realizes that he is basically the only responsible adult in The Kid's life, will this be enough to put
him on the straight and narrow?
What an awful movie. I was really digging it for about the first 20 minutes, but as the movie wore on and Willie became more disgusting, I just couldn't take it anymore. There were a few laugh out loud parts for me, I'll admit that, but they were overshadowed by the disgusting antics of Willie.
The crime this movie commits isn't the vile language and foul anti-Christmas theme. Nor is it that he talks to children like they are dogs in the streets. The crime is that on top of all of this, it's a poorly written and borderline boring movie. The writers spend 70 minutes trying to convince how bad Willie is leaving only 20 minutes for his redemption. We knew he was an awful person when he used the f-word to a bunch of kids 10 minutes into the movie. He didn't need to perform anal sex in the changing room or tear up the child Christmas toy to proven that he was a horrible person and nearly beyond help.
John Ritter's character was sweet, but I felt terrible seeing his last performance in something so repugnant. Bernie Mac honestly, wasn't very good. Similarly to the loud and stank black prostitute that was thrown in there for good measure (she says sarcastically) his character didn't really add anything to the story and I really hate when there are characters with seemingly no purpose. It just clutters up the screen.
I can not in good faith recommend this. I know lots of critics are raving about how good this movie is, but I think they are so excited about a movie that dares to take on Christmas sappiness that they lost sight of how flawed this movie really is. I honestly felt the need to shower after watching it.