A Decent Sequel That Will Satisfy Fans of the Original
It should come as no surprise to anyone that Bad Santa 2 isn't anywhere near as good as it's predecessor. Aside from the fact that it's incredibly hard for sequels to out-do the original (and one that's as great as Bad Santa), none of the writers or director have returned for this installment. With that said, Bad Santa 2 still manages to be an enjoyable sequel that is much better than many other recent comedy sequels in recent memory.
One of the films biggest strengths is in it's casting. The majority of the original cast returns and all of the chemistry from the first film is still there. Kathy Bates who plays Willie's mother is a welcome addition to the cast and fits right into the filthy and vile atmosphere. Christina Hendricks is alright, but her character doesn't add too much to the film.
The biggest question about Bad Santa 2 is if it is in fact funny? For the most part, yes it is! A lot of the humor is reminiscence of the first film filled with crass, raunch, and insults galore. However, with none of the original writers returning this means that some of the wittiness of the first film is missing here. A lot of the jokes here are focused more on being offensive and vulgar which isn't necessarily a bad thing considering the type of movie this is, but at times it certainly feels like they are trying too hard to be so and jokes fall flat because of this. Fortunately, the majority of them still work. Like the first film, they don't forget to include a bit of drama and heart as well which seems like it would be missing here.
Mark Waters who has a rather mixed track record with his filmography ranging from decent to awful has taken over as the director. His direction isn't necessarily bad, but it does feel rather bland and unimpressive and at times feeling cheaper than the original film despite having a slightly bigger budget here and the film does suffer a bit because of it. Aside from that, the only other real flaw here is that there is a small portion in the middle where a few scenes drag a bit and the climax does feel a bit rushed.
Overall, Bad Santa 2 isn't going to achieve the cult classic status that the first film did, but as far as sequels go, it's honestly better than it should have been. While flawed, it's great to see Thornton and crew back and there are plenty of laughs to be had here and it even provides a satisfying conclusion to Willie's story. It's no 22 Jump Street, but it's miles ahead of Zoolander 2.
NOTE: I would rate the film a 6.5, but have rounded it up to a 7 due to IMDb's rating system.
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