Bad Santa (2003) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • Willie T. Stokes is a convicted con man who's led a miserable life. He drinks heavily and constantly embarrasses himself publicly. He only works once a year dressed as Santa. But then come Christmas Eve, he and his pint-sized helper dwarf Marcus stage elaborate robberies and take their department stores for everything they got. This time around, Willie gets distracted by large women, a bartender who is attracted to Santas, and a kid who's convinced he's the real deal. However, Marcus must once again put up with Willie's heavy drinking and a series of incidents that constantly shoot themselves in the foot. Will Willie and Marcus make it to next Christmas? Or will this be the year the dynamic duo finally face justice?

  • Once a year, the chronically depressed, misanthropic, alcoholic wreck-of-a-man safe-breaker, Willie T. Soke, wakes up from his annual slumber to team up with his partner-in-crime, the ill-tempered dwarf, Marcus. Theirs is a simple but ingenious plan: Willie, as a department store Santa, and Marcus, as his trusted elf-helper, use this cover to crack safes for nearly eight years now, in the most wonderful time of the year. However, this time, the scheme is on the verge of falling apart, as Willie's professional incompetence along with a hawk-eyed mall security chief in Phoenix, threaten to blow their cover--and to top it all off, Willie finds the time to befriend a lonely picked-on kid, Thurman. Is now the moment for some unorthodox Christmas spirit?

  • The drunkard Willie and his partner, the midget Marcus, work once a year, near Christmas, dressed like Santa Claus and his helper elf in department stores. However, their intent is to rob the place in the Christmas Eve. When Willie meets a lonely fat boy and the hot bartender Sue, he learns the meaning of Christmas and gets in trouble.

  • Santa and his little helper are confidence men casing a mall all holiday season and robbing it blind Christmas Eve. The elf "shops" the stores while Santa cracks the mall safe. Following them through one last season of perverse holiday cheer, we meet a woman bartender who has always had a thing for Santas, and a little boy who evokes genuine emotional change in Santa.

  • It is the height of the festive holiday season and merry shoppers have begun their yearly pilgrimages to their local malls. Among the drove is a pair of con men, on a decadent road trip as Santa and his elf. Rather than spreading good cheer, the duo's motive is to rob each establishment, a strategy that becomes complicated when they encounter a precocious 8-year old that teaches them the true meaning of Christmas.

  • A miserable conman and his partner pose as Santa and his Little Helper to rob department stores on Christmas Eve. But they run into problems when the conman befriends a troubled kid.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Willie T. Stokes and Marcus are professional heistmen, that take on the Santa Claus routine for the children at a different shopping mall every year as a front for the opportunity to disable the mall security system, clean out the safe, and then flee on Christmas Eve. Willie is an alcoholic, a sex addict and is getting gradually unable to perform the Santa routine much to Marcus' dismay. This year, Willie and Marcus are hired at a mall in Phoenix, Arizona and Willie's vulgar remarks shock the prudish mall manager Bob Chipeska who brings Willie to the attention of security chief Gin Slagel. At a bar, Willie initiates a passionate love affair by charming bartender Sue, who has a Santa fetish.

    During his shift as Santa, Willie is visited by Thurman, an exceedingly naive, overweight boy, who believes Willie is actually Santa and is the target of taunts from a skateboarding gang. When Willie is in the parking lot, he is attacked by a man (Ajay Naidu) who watched him in the bar insisting he is not gay; Thurman believing Santa needs his assistance intervenes, and the man not wanting to expose the kid to adult matters, leaves.

    Willie gives Thurman a ride home, answering Thurman's endless questions, and walks into the boy's affluent house living with just his very senile grandmother. Thurman reveals that his mother passed away, and his father is away "exploring mountains" (when he is actually in jail for embezzlement). As Thurman has no suspicion that Willie is not Santa, makes no resistance when Willie breaks into the house safe and takes his father's BMW.

    When Bob overhears Willie having anal sex with a woman in a mall dressing room, informing Gin sets him investigating. When Willie goes to his motel room and sees someone ransacking his room, he inquires a bystanding prostitute as to who is in his room and she suggests a cop. Willie then takes advantage of Thurman's naivety and takes residence in his house enduring Thurman's relentless barrage of questions and breaking down in verbal abuse to a never offended Thurman.

    Marcus berates Willie for taking advantage of a kid, and states his disapproval of Willie's "serial fornicating" and endless drinking. Thurman visits Willie during his shift as Santa after receiving a wedgie from his bullies and changes his request of a pink stuffed elephant, not a purple one. After seeing Thurman hurt himself by accidentally cutting his hand, Willie grows fonder towards him, showing him how to defend himself against bullies. Later, while Willie gives Thurman a letter, telling him to give it to the police to explain what will really happen on Christmas Eve at the mall, he notices Thurman has a black eye from the kids who bully him. As a result, Willie attacks the bullies to get them to leave Thurman alone.

    Whilst Willie and Sue are fooling around, Thurman interrupts in order to give Willie his present a wooden pickle he made himself.

    Gin's investigation of Willie includes visiting Thurman's imprisoned father. Gin reveals his figuring out of the con scheme to the two with blackmailing them for a half cut to keep silence. When Willie is home with Thurman, Marcus and his wife Lois murder Gin as a way of keeping all the money for themselves.

    After hearing Thurman sadly insult himself, Willie sternly tells him that he's not really Santa Claus, and that Santa does not exist. Thurman reveals that he's always known there is no Santa but thought that Willie would like to give him a present anyway because they were friends. On Christmas Eve, Willie, Marcus and Lois break into the mall as planned. It takes Willie longer than usual to crack open the safe; Marcus notices this and after successfully opening it, Marcus reveals to Willie that he has become too unreliable and was planning on killing him.

    Before Marcus can take his shot, a police squad appears and starts shooting at all three of them. Willie makes an escape with a pink stuffed elephant as Thurman's Christmas present. He escapes and frantically drives back to Thurman's house with a convoy of police in hot pursuit. However, before he can make it to the front door, the police shoot him.

    The epilogue is told through a letter that Willie sent to Thurman. It explains how he's going to be out of hospital soon, and will work as a police sensitivity counselor as Thurman gave the police the letter, which proved Willie's innocence. Marcus and Lois are arrested while Sue is granted guardianship over Thurman and his house.

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