'Badder Santa' DVD Review: How Much "Badder" Can this Santa Get?

How the Blu-ray/DVD Makes 'Bad Santa' Even Dirtier

Bad Santa DVD Badder Santa
"Badder Santa" on DVD. Photo © Dimension Films

As if the R rated version of  the 2003 Billy Bob Thornton Christmas comedy Bad Santa wasn't "bad" enough for you, Dimension Films unleashed a raunchier, sexier version titled Badder Santa on DVD in 2004. And why not? If you're going to go for it with an R rated Santa Claus movie, why not push the envelope even further? Definitely not for kiddies -- or the easily offended -- Badder Santa is for mature audiences who don't mind raunchy humor, lots of drinking, cursing as you're never heard before in a holiday movie, and other behavior that would normally land you on Santa's "Naughty" list.

Badder Santa is seven minutes longer than the original version, and a detailed list of the differences between both versions can be found here! Generally, the unrated version features more swearing and foul language, additional nudity, and Marcus -- Thornton's elf partner in crime -- has several additional scenes.

Surprisingly, director Terry Zwigoff was not involved with the "Badder Santa" cut of Bad Santa. In 2006, he would create his own "Badder" cut of the film labeled the Director's Cut, which was released on DVD and Blu-ray. Zwigoff's cut is actually three minutes shorter than the theatrical version (and ten minutes shorter than the "Badder Santa" version and removes scenes he didn't shoot that were added by producers. Zwigoff recorded an audio commentary for that version of the film, which is the only Bad Santa director's commentary available.

How did Bad Santa end up with three different versions of the film?

Zwigoff had disagreements with the producers, Harvey and Bob Weinstein, abut the film once shooting had completed. The Weinsteins hired another director to film additional scenes. Their version was released theatrically. To sell more copies, the unrated "Badder" copy was released. Eventually, the Weinsteins allowed Zwigoff to release his cut of the film, which is considerably darker.

So what does the Badder Santa DVD have to offer?

Pros

  • Billy Bob Thornton should have won awards for this role
  • Rude, crude, and hysterical

Cons

  • No cast or filmmaker commentaries
  • Original version of Bad Santa isn't included on the DVD

Description

  • Three Deleted/Extended Scenes: Includes a training session for would-be Santas starring Sarah Silverman
  • Behind-the-Scenes Featurette: Get a peek into the making of the film, including the casting process
  • Badder Santa Gag Reel
  • Outtakes and Bloopers
  • DVD Release Date: June 22, 2004

Badder Santa DVD Review

Have you ever wondered what department store Santas do after a day of having whiny kids sitting on their laps? If so, Bad Santa reveals one possibility: they rob shopping malls after all the good little boys and girls go home. Billy Bob Thornton and Tony Cox masquerade as Santa and one of his elves by day. By night, they fill their sacks with stolen goods. This plan works well once a year, until they have a run-in with a shopping mall detective who wants in on the heist.

Billy Bob Thornton is perfect as a drinking, smoking, cussing, over-sexed department store Santa. Seriously, Thornton's one of the best actors working today and he absolutely nails this part.

And Thornton's not the only actor in this movie who nails his scenes. Tony Cox, Lauren Graham, Bernie Mac, John Ritter, and newcomer Brett Kelly seem to have had a contest going on to see who could steal the most scenes.

In Badder Santa, there are even more scenes for them to steal -- with seven extra minutes of raunchy content, Thornton and his co-stars go overboard with the holiday hellraising.

Ultimately the best version of Bad Santa to buy is the Blu-ray release labeled Bad Santa: The Unrated Version and Director's Cut, which features both of the "raunchy" versions of the film for your holiday viewing pleasure. Watch 'em both and see how bad Santa Claus can really get around the holidays.

Edited by Christopher McKittrick