Bad Santa | Chicago Reader

Bad Santa

After the remarkable one-two punch of Crumb and Ghost World, Terry Zwigoff eases into the mainstream with this R-rated holiday comedy (2003) about an alcoholic thief (Billy Bob Thornton) working as a department store Santa. He and his partner, a caustic dwarf (Tony Cox), show up in a different city every year and rip off the store safe on Christmas Eve, but their scam is complicated this time when a miserable fat kid (Bret Kelly) attaches himself to the bitter, foulmouthed Thornton. Joel and Ethan Coen wrote the story, using the ancient gag of the toxic Santa as a vehicle for their patented brand of misanthropy; Zwigoff and company wring some laughs out of it, though the tone is uniformly mean and vulgar. With Bernie Mac, Lauren Graham, and John Ritter in his last film.



  • Terry Zwigoff


  • Billy Bob Thornton
  • Tony Cox
  • Brett Kelly
  • Lauren Graham
  • Lauren Tom
  • Bernie Mac
  • John Ritter
  • Ajay Naidu
  • Alex Borstein
  • Cloris Leachman


  • Glenn Ficarra
  • John Requa
  • Arnie Marx


  • Joel Coen
  • Ethan Coen
  • John Cameron
  • David Crockett
  • Sarah Aubrey

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