(director: Tommy Wirkola; screenwriters: Pat Casey/Josh Miller; cinematographer: Matthew Weston; editor: Jim Page; music: Domenic Lewis; cast: David Harbour (Santa Claus), Edi Patterson (Alva Lightstone), John Leguizamo (Scrooge), Beverly D’Angelo (Gertrude Lightstone), Leah Brady (Trudy Lightstone), Cam Gigandel (Morgan Lightstone), Alex Hassel (Jason Lightstone), Alexis Louder (Linda), Alexander Elliot (Bert), Brendan Fletcher (Krampus), Mike Dopud (Commander Thorp); Runtime: 101; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Guy Danella/David Leitch/Kelly McCormick; Universal; 2022)
“It’s not funny, creative, witty, fresh or innovative.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Norway born director Tommy Wirkola (“The Trip”/”Dead Snow”) and writers Pat Casey and Josh Miller go the Bad Santa comedy route in this naughty piece about a dissolute Santa (David Harbour), who while drunk during the holidays shamelessly pees and pukes out of the side of his sleigh.
The tasteless Yuletide comedy, features a hateful rich family from the upper-class suburb of Greenwich, Connecticut, who on Christmas Eve traditionally celebrate the holiday together in the mansion of the workaholic misanthropic boss of the family business, the matriarch, Gertrude Lightstone (Beverly D’Angelo). They celebrate the holiday even though the greedy family despises each other and only bitch at each other at the gathering.
Before you can say Merry Christmas, home invaders, led by the violent psychopath who calls himself Scrooge (John Leguizamo) and is fond of saying “Bah humbug, motherfucker!,” dims the Christmas spirit with his vileness and threats to humanity, as he invades the Lightstone home and plans to rob the $300 million hidden in the house vault. Scrooge has worked things out so the entire Lighthouse staff is secretly working for him, which includes the catering and security people. What is unexpected is that the grumpy, drunk Santa Claus makes a home visit to the family gathering and heroically saves their asses by taking on the bad guys with force.
Harbour’s fucked-up sledge-hammer wielding Santa goes ape on the home invaders, as throats get slashed, heads scalped and the star atop the tree gets weaponized.
Most of the respectable good films of the year that are Oscar eligible are tanking at the box office, while trashy holiday fare like this film are doing a big box office gross. It’s not funny, creative, witty, fresh or innovative, yet the public is lapping up the obscene Christmas flick as if it never heard of Bing Crosby’s White Christmas and thinks that violent holiday films if entertaining have a place in the genre.
REVIEWED ON 12/2/2022 GRADE: C-