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Twisted St. Nick

Nickey Hernandez

I never bought the big fat lie about Santa Claus.Seems I was sharper than the rest of my kindergarten class. Most of them believed in a North Pole loner, who knew if they’d been naughty or nice.Naughtiness came natural to me at an early age. So did reason. That’s why the idea of a grown man devoting his life to children seemed farfetched, Michael Jackson not withstanding.The notion that a jolly, fat dude would cross the globe each year delivering elf-crafted goods to all the needy children in the world sounded like pure bunk from the moment I could crawl. Little wonder then, that I loved “Bad Santa,” a crude, rude and profanity-laced flick that takes a seamy dump on Christmas Cheer.If you’re the type of sensitive soul who puts out Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving and leaves the power-wasting clutter past New Years, I suggest you cuddle up with “Miracle on 34th St.” for the 137th time.However, those who rise early to smell the coffee or vomit depending on the previous night’s activity need to see “Bad Santa.”F-bombs fall like reindeer droppings throughout “Bad Santa,” which follows the downward spiral of drunken, sex-addicted, department store Santa named Willie T. Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton).Thornton’s degenerate Jolly St. Nick is more fun than a toxic blend of eggnog and Oxycotin.When not lusting for the mud flaps on Plus-Size women, Willie spends his time as a department store Santa. The job allows Willie the chance to case stores, then rob them each Christmas Eve.Willie, sad to say, hates everything and everybody. He especially hates kids.That means Willie suffers through thousands of encounters with snot-nosed kids clamoring for a seat on his soiled lap each Christmas season.Willie is usually three reindeer to the wind during all the exchanges with children. When the runts ask for a gift, he slurs a profane response, then kicks them to the curb.Willie changes his perspective, slightly, after a sorry fat kid befriends the tormented Santa. The kid is a neighborhood butterball, who could pass as a poster boy for child obesity.When the kid wonders why Santa is in a shopping mall and not the North Pole, Willie explains that he got kicked out for F-ing Mrs. Santa’s Sister.Willie’s in-store behavior quickly gets out of hand. He passes out drunk in Santa’s Kingdome; does the dirty deed with a fat chick in the lady’s dressing room; and messes himself while kids ask for Christmas gifts.All this mayhem causes panic attacks for store manager Bob Chipeska. The late John Ritter delivers a nice performance as a nerdy and sexually frustrated boss totally unable to handle Willie’s wild ways.”Bad Santa” is worth a look just to see Ritter’s final screen effort. But there’s a lot more, including Bernie Mac’s performance as a department store private eye with a penchant for pedicures.”Bad Santa” will never be mistaken for “It’s a Wonderful Life,” but it is far funnier than any Christmas classic from yesteryear.Until next time Mr. Hernandez has left the theater to celebrate Kawanza.Nickey Hernandez is a former private investigator who knows that every time a bell rings, an angel gets kicked in the nuts.


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