Let it be known that before 'The Night Before' kinda took things over in the "adult Christmas comedy" category, this one had the top spot. It's certainly on the raunchier side of things, but in a strange way, that's where the charm of this title comes from.
Willie and Marcus (Billy Bob Thornton and Tony Cox, respectively) are a couple of thieves. Every year, the tradition is that they pose as a mall Santa and his elf for the kids. They learn the ins and outs of the place, including the security system, and rob the place blind on Christmas Eve. However, Willy has a tendency to blow it all on drinking, prostitutes, and presumably drugs, leaving him flat broke for the following year when they have to do it again. However, this year, the mall manager (John Ritter) and head of security (Bernie Mac) are onto them.
In the meantime, Willy meets a kid named... well... actually his name is a pretty funny surprise. He's otherwise just known as "The Kid" though (Brett Kelly). Anyway, the kid manages to be a perfect solution to Willy needing a hideout while the heat's on. He lives alone with his seemingly senile grandmother, since his parents... well, again, I gotta let the kid explain this one 'cause it's freaking hilarious.
Now, getting back to the raunchiness of the film being a part of it's charm. I think its important for people to realize that this does end up being a Christmas movie about being kind to yourself, as it's just as important as taking the time to be kind to others. The overall ending to this is a bittersweet combination, but it works for what the movie is, and the underlying message definitely gets across.
It should also be known that 'Bad Santa' is FAR superior to it's sequel! If you happen to have somehow seen the sequel first and it turned you off of checking out it's predecessor, a few things to note. First, the kid makes a lot more sense here because, well, he's actually a kid. His situation is actually cute, in it's own weird way, and you laugh at just about anything he says. In the sequel, it loses it's touch 'cause he's into his 20's still acting the same. Second, this is actually one last time to appreciate the flexible acting capabilities of both John Ritter and Bernie Mac, may they rest in peace. While it may not be the best title on their respective resumes, it seems clear that they both had fun making this. While Ritter is awkward and very nerdy, Mac is hard and intense. Their scenes together are actually a great contrast. Third, the random humor of this is just more laugh out loud hilarious. Fourth, and last, once again, I have to bring up the way this ends. I don't actually even remember how the sequel ended, but this had a surprising amount of heart to it for an otherwise raunchy Christmas comedy.
While it's not exactly a movie I'd just flat out recommend ANYONE should see, it will appeal to those who can appreciate a let-loose good time. Much like a movie like 'Superbad' changed what high school movies could be from 'American Pie', this changed what raunchy (sorry to use that word so redundantly) Christmas comedy was from 'Christmas Vacation' (a title I'll get to later). In other words, it raised the bar in the respective category and managed to get away with a little more edge.
So, if you're looking for something a little more out of the ordinary this Christmas for a good laugh, I can recommend this to the more open-minded. It's a good R-rating as far as it's material is concerned though, so be prepared for that.