Bad Santa

Rated 2.0 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 and Barfly 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 and Fargo) 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.