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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Bad Santa (2003)


Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, Brett Kelly, Lauren Graham and Lauren Tom
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RRP: £17.99
Certificate: 15
Available 01 December 2008

When washed-up, crooked and corrupt department store Santa, Willie isn't making appearances at shopping malls, he's a safecracker who makes an annual big score on Christmas Eve. But when Willie and his dwarf partner, Marcus, come to Phoenix for their next heist, they fall under the suspicious eye of Bob, the store manager, and Gin, a savvy mall detective. Willie also has to deal with an 8-year-old misfit who believes that the frequently-intoxicated and foul-mouthed Willie is the real Santa...

Bad Santa is not your typical Christmas feel good film. In fact it's probably the perfect movie for those who are sick to death of watching It's a Wonderful Life every year. The plot is fairly straightforward. Willie and Marcus are small time crooks who every year hook up and look for employment in a different department store in a different city somewhere in America. The idea is simple: Willie is Santa and Marcus is his elf and while working they check out the store's security systems in preparation for breaking into the safe, and taking any other valuables they fancy, when the store closes for the Christmas break.

However, this year is different. Willie seems to be sinking deeper and deeper into alcoholism and self-hatred, and Marcus is getting more than a little irritated with his lack of focus. Willie also accidentally gets himself involved with a lonely and unpopular kid who lives alone with his grandma in a large house. The kid is a little slower than other kids his age, and believes that Willie is the real Santa - something that Willie uses to his advantage. Willie also gets involved with a woman who has a Santa fetish.

Unsurprised, for a Christmas themed movie, there is a moral twist in the tale - although it's not as sickly sweet as most films and still retains it's "Bah, Humbug!" message.

Extras include Bad Santa: Not Your Typical Christmas Movie (9 min, 29 sec behind the scenes featurette); Deleted Scenes (8 min, 57 sec worth of scenes that never made the final cut); Bloopers (4 min, 02 sec of pretty unfunny outtakes); and trailers for other releases.

There's nothing here that's worth recommending the Blu-ray release over the DVD, but this is still a refreshingly different Holiday movie whatever format you decide to go with.


Pete Boomer

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