You’ve probably heard the caveats about “Bad Santa,” the scatological, cruel-yule send-up. The warning is to not, repeat NOT, bring the kids to this R-rated holiday fare. I think that heads-up should be broadened: Do not bring yourself either.
The movie is doing well at the box office, and both local dailies — as well as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and others — found “Bad Santa” worthy of recommendation. You know the approach: wink-wink-we-know-we’re-all-too-hip-not-to-appreciate-the-outrageous-hilarity-embedded-in-this-iconoclastically-funny-work-that-to-the-uninitiated-is-nothing-more-than-an-inappropriately-irreverent-exercise-in-crudeness-vulgarity-profanity-violence-and-sex.
Find a babysitter and go laugh yourself silly or incontinent — just like “Bad Santa” himself.The promos inform us that Roger Ebert ostensibly said — in some context — that “Bad Santa” was “unreasonably funny.” Whatever that means.
It probably means it’s the times we live in. A lot of people seemingly liked the “Blair Witch Project” too. Maybe it was because they didn’t want to appear unenlightened about cinema verite in the form of hand-held cameras and amateur actors. I thought it was a hoax of Piltdown proportions.
Maybe, in “Bad Santa’s” case, there’s a perverse sort of cachet in not acknowledging that you couldn’t divine the vulgar inventiveness. Maybe no movie stinks if its director is “auteur” enough.
Anyway, “Bad Santa” does not transcend its coarseness and poor taste. It’s not funny. It’s boring. It’s mean-spirited. It’s sad. “Bad Santa” is a bad movie. It just is.