This anti-holiday season comedy certainly lives up to its title. It has much more in common with the human skid marks of Bad Lieutenant
than with Elf
. Counterfeit Kriss Kringle (Billy Bob Thornton) and his helper (the 3-foot-2-inch-tall Tony Cox) serve lines of wishful children at a different store each December and then rob it on Christmas Eve. The Saint-challenged Nick here is an alcoholic safecracker who likes to have sex with overweight ladies from the rear, urinates on himself, and uses the F-word quite possibly more times than Dennis Hopper says “man” in Easy Rider
. The story idea is attributed to the Coen brothers (Raising Arizona
) but the script itself by Cats & Dogs
co-scribes John Requa and Glenn Ficarra smacks more of the septic-tank sensibility of the Farrelly brothers (Dumb and Dumber
). Director Terry Zwigoff tends to ignore that there’s a huge difference between pushing the boundaries of comedy and drowning it in raunchiness.