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Parents' Guide to

Bad Santa

By Teresa Talerico, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Too naughty for kids; nice for some grown-ups.

Movie R 2003 93 minutes
Bad Santa Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 14 parent reviews

age 17+

Dark, but warm

It’s a dark comedy, with a warm underbelly. It’s one of my favourites to pull out over the holiday season. Definitely not for younger viewers though. I’m surprised it got 15 rating in the UK.
age 17+

Awesome, but NOT for kids!

Very raunchy, but very funny! Billy Bob Thornton plays his role so well and does not hold back, and Tony Cox is quite his partner in crime. Although there are no positive messages, the boy who befriends Bad Santa (Billy Bob Thornton) is a positive role model because of how innocent he is throughout the film, but Bad Santa drinks too much and is wasted most of the time, which does not make him a positive role model. Violence includes robberies, and there is plenty of sex, and in language, there are plenty of uses of “s--t” and “f--k”. This is NOT for kids, but it is entertaining for many adults who like raunchy humor.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (14 ):
Kids say (20 ):

There's no question that viewers will find Bad Santa crude and irreverent. But while some might be shocked and disgusted, others will find themselves laughing all the way through this unconventional Christmas tale. Indeed, Willie emerges as the ultimate antihero. Those who aren't utterly offended might even find themselves rooting for Willie, who is portrayed as more of a washed-up, disorganized loser than a genuine menace. He starts out as a Grinch, but seems to be headed for his own version of redemption. A scene where Willie and his girlfriend help decorate the home for Christmas is surprisingly sweet.

In his final film role, the late John Ritter shines as the uptight department-store manager. Lauren Graham brings just the right mix of freewheeling sexiness and earthy compassion to her role Willie's love interest, and Bernie Mac is solid as the store's deadpan, scheming security guard, and Cox plays a great straight man to Thornton's over-the-top Willie.

Movie Details

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