Billy Bob Thornton is the eponymous Bad Santa - a misanthrope whose only sense of Christmas spirit comes packaged in a bottle. Director Terry Zwigoff followed up his offbeat teen flick Ghost World (2000) with this similarly dark and "amusing antidote to seasonal sentiment". Be warned: it's definitely not for the kids with more f-words than Gordon Ramsay's kitchen on Christmas day...
Behind The Beard
A ten-minute featurette visits the California soundstage where Thornton makes it clear: "This is not your typical Christmas movie." In a very brief amount of time, we're given a fair insight into the roots of this unlikely project as well as hearing from members of the cast. Producers John Cameron and Sarah Aubrey reveal that it started out as a one-sentence pitch by Joel and Ethan Coen, ie "a Santa who is bad and changes". Zwigoff loved the script immediately, but his agent reckoned "this is a movie that will never get made". Thankfully he ignored the warning but received a pile of rejection letters before Miramax finally jumped on board.
Zwigoff and Thornton also pay tribute to the late John Ritter who plays department store manager Bob Chipeska.
In case you think Zwigoff is exaggerating when he says that Ritter had him in fits of laughter with just a simple facial expression, check out the blooper reel. Here we get to see take after hilarious take of a squirming Chipeska consulting Bernie Mac (as the store detective) for the most politically correct way to fire a "black midget" (Tony Cox). He's basically David Brent with an American accent!
There's more great improv among nine minutes of deleted footage. Even the hardnosed Anne Robinson would blush at the scathing retorts that Thornton comes up with when a security guard asks what he's hiding down his big red pants...
Sadly that wraps it up for the extras menu. There are no commentaries and no sign of the Coen brothers who aren't even credited for their work. Okay, so it's not going to split the seams of your Christmas stocking, but this DVD will surely keep the grown-ups merry.