Bad Santa Unrated Directors Cut Blu-Ray Review

Cover Art: 5/10
Bernie Mac doesn’t need to be on the cover of this DVD, but hey, whatever deals get made are not up to me. It’s your standard tongue in cheek cover (and with this movie, tongue in cheek takes on a whole new meaning), so it’s not a total dud, just kind of boring.

Extras: 6/10

  • Deleted & alternate scenes – Seeing this crew screw up is as funny as when they did it correctly on screen, so it’s fun to see them mess up lines that are already quite outrageous.
  • Behind the scenes special – An interview with director Terry Zwigoff and clips from the making of the film, this extra does answer a few questions. If you loved Ghost World, I do think will be equally as pleased with Zwigoff’s latest offering. He’s got something behind that Gene Wilder hair style that brings out the best in the tortured characters of the world. This featured extra shows how they found the fantastic kid who steals the show. We learn about how Thornton got the part of this difficult Christmas character, along with his co-stars Tony Cox, John Ritter, Lauren Graham, and Bernie Mac. It’s a good size extra that adds a bit to the experience that IS Badder Santa.
  • Outtakes – A montage of mistakes by the cast.
  • Badder Santa Gag Reel – Some bits left out of the final cut.

The Movie: 7/10:
I’m not sure which parts were added back in to make this version BADDER Santa, but I can guess. So, if you have seen Bad Santa already and think you don’t need to catch this disc, well, you might want to think again because I’m sure that some of the bits that were taken out of the theatrical version make it a much spicier flick.

I have a love hate relationship with movies like Bad Santa. I love to see a film so daring and on the edge that it even makes me cringe every other scene. On the flip side, I hate it when it comes to reviewing the darn things. Why is it hard to review something I like so much? Well, it’s not the kind of movie I recommend for just anyone. This is not your typical “feel good” Christmas movie, and that’s an understatement believe me! There is nothing typical or standard, or even remotely familiar about this story, which is the element that makes me love it.

A man playing Santa who has no desire to feign kindness, generosity, or even a simple smile is compelling. Add Billy Bob Thornton to the mix and you have just tossed in his natural cynicism and rough edges to finish off the effect. This is not just about a guy who’s a bit grumpy, oh no, it’s not that gentle on us. This is a guy who gets so drunk before a day’s work at the mall listening to kids’ Christmas lists that he openly proclaims he has, um, let’s say urinated on himself (not his words, but for this review I’ll tone it down a bit.). Like I said, this is not a movie for the faint of heart, or anyone who expects a miracle on any street. This is about an alcoholic bum of a guy who steals for a living and who has teamed up with an equally unpleasant “little person” as his partner in crime.

The elf, as it were, is most definitely the brains of the operation, and with a large dose of inhumanity to his fellow man, this little guy is not an adorable sidekick who lightens up each scene. This is a foul mouthed, hard core thief who will stop at nothing to get his take at the end of the holiday season.

Their scam is a great one. They play Santa and his elf for a few weeks, get all the security information about the mall they are working in and when it’s time to pack up the sleigh, they pull a heist, crack the safe and take off for a year with a pile of cash to get them through. It’s a good plan until, of course, they meet up with a few obstacles.

John Ritter is the mall manager. He is so good in this movie, I just hate to think that he isn’t around to do any more films. He totally brings a character to life and I look forward to every scene with him in it. His character is suspicious of the unlikely duo and goes to the mall chief security officer to get some help. Bernie Mac is yet another unlikely character. He is brash and fairly obnoxious and his methods for dealing with the partners in crime are not quite up to legitimate standards, if you know what I mean. (wink) Let’s just say he don’t get offended by how much they plan to steal, just how much they might not share.

Between the cuss word’s coming out of the elf’s mouth and a Santa who has no self control when it comes to sex and drinking, there’s not much time for the rest of the story, but it manages to creep through here and there.

This Santa meets up with the saddest little kid you will ever see in a movie. I don’t mean he’s sad, but his character’s life is so unbelievably heartbreaking you want to reach in and save him from Thornton the instant they meet up. The kid is played by a brilliant youngster who gives the exact right about of pitiful facial expressions with a keen sense of timing for his often strange lines.

Thornton’s new found girlfriend is just quirky and interesting enough to keep her from fading into the background of the story. It’s only because she’s played so well by Lauren Graham that she becomes a very memorable character. Even the mostly comatose grandmother, played by Cloris Leachman, brings something to the unique and somewhat strange flavor of Bad Santa.

If you think Santa might like to get lucky in the Jacuzzi with a woman who has “issues” with the jolly elf, or drink himself into a stupor before lunch time, then this is the movie for you. If you love sarcasm, sharp language, rebellious films that take a chance on our adult sensibilities, and a story that has such a small glimmer of hope that it doesn’t qualify as a feel GOOD movie so much as a “feel somewhat guardedly optimistic with a sprinkle of goodness” movie, I say run out now and get it. If you don’t think hearing Santa say, “you won’t **** right for a month” while enjoying the company of a plus size lady in the dressing room of a department store will entertain you, go rent Home Alone and leave the grown up movies to us, um, grown ups.

This movie is classically funny, in a modern kind of way. It’s loaded with enough offensive dialogue that you couldn’t edit it all out without destroying the whole thing. It’s got a heart and soul though, enough mush buried beneath the harshness to salvage what’s left of your innocence. And believe me, Thornton’s character will deflower even the most hard core master of skepticism and nasty language.

So put away the milk and cookies. Hide the presents, and your wife. Santa’s coming to a town near you and he ain’t bring holiday cheer with him. He’s bringing his safe cracking kit, a lust for the ladies, a fist full of booze, and a spiteful little elf who would put even the Grinch to shame with his murderous ways. It’s a lot of fun and a must have for any Thornton fan!

Video & Audio By Ascully:
What can I say about Bad Santa, its the perfect Christmas movie for all the family (Probably Not). The Blu-ray edition of the movie comes with both the directors cut and the theatrical version. Audio and video are very well represented and having seen this film so many times I can honestly say this is the best presentation available at this time.

Disney have done something unusual with this disc, it contains two different versions of the movie and instead of using seamless branching to delete or add scenes they include both movies in full on the BD50 disc. It’s amazing how they have been able to keep the bitrate so high and the picture quality pristine on both versions of the movie and something the author should be applauded for.

Value: 7/10
21 bucks is too much for a fairly standard HD Disc. Take a holiday break and rent this one for a weekend chuckle. If you find it in a few months in the bargain bin go for it, but until then don’t blow a twenty dollar bill. Just spend $1.99 to rent it and the rest on therapy down the road, you might just need it after you see Santa do some of the things he’s gonna do. 🙂

Overall Score 7/10