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:: Bad Santa

Watching Ghost World director Terry Zwigoff’s latest comedy Bad Santa makes you realise just how politically correct most films are. Never has a by-line been more accurate: this Santa really “doesn’t care if you’re naughty or nice”. So ensure you keep kids away from this hilarious film – unless you’re as sadistic as some of the characters.

Billy Bob Thornton plays the most no-good, sad sack, permanently cussing, safe-cracking Santa ever envisioned. Accompanied by his partner in crime, a lippy materialistic dwarf, and his partner’s partner – a trashy mail-order bride – it’s a miracle this Santa gets so much ‘tail’. Whoever knew that so many women were hot for Father Christmas?

But when this wreck of a man encounters a slutty waitress (Gilmore Girls’ Lauren Graham playing against type) and the unswerving loyalty of a fat, unprepossessing child (Brett Kelly), he undergoes a quasi-redemption.
Bad Santa will have you laughing out loud, often from shock. Glen Ficarra and John Requa’s pacy script injects some much-needed originality into the redemption formula and despite the unpleasantness of most of the characters, you begin to care about their tawdry lives.

There have been some great comedies this year: Starsky and Hutch, Shaun of the Dead…but Bad Santa’s my pick for best comedy of 2004.