On The Couch #52: Bad Santa

I didn’t mean for Bad Santa to be my movie to close out movies on the couch for 2010. I added it to my Netflix queue in time to have it delivered for Christmas. I thought about doing a Fred Claus/Bad Santa double feature right before Christmas. Unfortunately, Bad Santa went from available to “very long wait” right before Christmas. It went right back to available the day after Christmas, sent to me like a belated gift from Netflix.
The Blu-Ray of Bad Santa offers two versions of the movie: the unrated cut, dubbed Badder Santa, and the director’s cut. I would have appreciated a third option, the theatrical release. Choosing between the director’s cut and the unrated cut seemed like a lose-lose. I’m not a fan of unrated edition of movies on DVD. When unrated cuts first appeared, they seemed really cool. Here were all the jokes that were too racy for those prudes at the MPAA. Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that the unrated cut is often a bloated mess. The extra scenes ruin the pacing of the movie, making these movies seem overlong. A lot of bits that make it into the unrated cut were cut from the theatrical release for a reason, and it’s not always the MPAA.
I wonder how many people bought Badder Santa thinking it was a sequel.
I decided to go with the Badder Santa unrated version. A former coworker told me it was his favorite Christmas movie. I’m glad I don’t work with him anymore. It would be hard to tell him that his favorite Christmas movie is garbage. Why? Why did I pick Bad Santa to close out the on the couch movies from 2010? Why couldn’t I have gone with Rambo or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest? This question will haunt me for a long time.
The story of Bad Santa is a complete mess. For a comedy, it’s very low on comedic scenes.  I’m not against bad language by any means, but when there has to be more to a joke than just the word “fuck.” Also, how many times can you go to the well that Santa is drunk is public or having public sex in his Santa suit? The makers of Bad Santa would answer there is no limit, because the movie is just one big string of drunk Santa and horny Santa for an hour and forty minutes.
I think the success of Bad Santa can be attributed to two factors. In 2003, Gilmore Girls was going strong and people wanted to see Mama Gilmore Lauren Graham in skimpy outfits. Also, Bernie Mac was one of the top comedians in the country at the time. I think if you took the two of them out of Bad Santa, it would have bombed.
I’m really glad that Bad Santa wasn’t the last movie by the late John Ritter. He’s completely wasted here. Thank goodness he made Clifford’s Really Big Movie after this.
Where’s my gift receipt, Netflix? I don’t want Bad Santa anymore.