Thursday, 24 November 2016

REVIEW - BAD SANTA 2 (MARK WATERS)


The line between decency and indecency need not be placed atop the line between political correctness and disrespect. And yet it is, for it's much too much to ask of a lazy, ignorant species as ours to make such progressive, productive distinctions. Thus Bad Santa 2 arrives, 13 years after its predecessor, having learnt a lot yet caring no more. It's one of those 'take-no-prisoners' comedies that never even seeks to point at its heterosexual white male protagonist and demographic, never mind shoot. Whether that's a more forgivable attribute in retrospect, 13 years later, or not is debatable. What, for me, is beyond debate is the shots that hit their target with majestic force and accuracy, when Bad Santa 2 manages to cross the line into indecency whilst keeping at least one foot before the line into disrespect. Mollycoddled snowflakes need not apply, though those among us with a robust sense of social justice need buckle up for some serious cognitive dissonance - the ability to enjoy Bad Santa 2 whilst also disapproving of much of its content. In that Mark Waters' ho-hum direction on an evidently ravaged budget makes this film far from a masterpiece on a fundamental level, that ought not to be too tricky a task, though, provided that one enters funny-bone first. Between the brilliantly deadpan Billy Bob Thornton, the joyously vicious Kathy Bates, and a script that flings in a few astonishing one-liners and never fails to entertain with an impressive barrage of depravity, Bad Santa 2 is positively hilarious, if only in generous bursts. Aptly, it crosses a line between good and bad filmmaking too often to do justice to its own talents, but that they're there at all is the greatest gift for which we'd never asked this holiday season.