How Best to Spend Your Holiday: Bad Santa 2 or Office Christmas Party?

Still reeling from the malaise of another miserable Thanksgiving, many family members will opt this Christmas to spend a couple of hours not talking to one another inside a movie theater, where even drunk old Uncle Ned knows it is impolite to yammer on about “the darkies.”

Finding consensus on a movie title all can agree on usually leads to a comedy—and if there are no little ones in your party, an R-rated one. Fortunately, this season includes two holiday-tinged flicks that fit that bill: Bad Santa 2 and Office Christmas Party.

In Bad Santa 2, Billy Bob Thornton returns as foul-mouthed, alcoholic career criminal Willie Soke, who is prodded to go to Chicago to participate in a $2 million heist with two people he hates: his conwoman mother, Sunny Soke (Kathy Bates), and Marcus Skidmore (Tony Cox), the little person who shot Willie in the first Bad Santa movie.

Following Willie to the Windy City is Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly), who has grown up to be a man since the first movie while retaining his stunning innocence, cluelessness and faithfulness to the bad Santa. Willie's feelings for Thurman and Diane Hastings (Christina Hendricks), the co-leader of the charity the thieves plan to knock off, complicate matters.

Office Christmas Party, which is also set in Chicago, hinges on branch manager Clay (T.J. Miller), chief technical officer Josh (Jason Bateman) and Josh's head of tech Tracey (Olivia Munn) ensuring a good time is had by potential investor Walter (Courtney B. Vance) at the Zenotek holiday blowout. That presents something of a Catch-22 because Zenotek's interim CEO—and Clay's sister—Carol (Jennifer Aniston) has canceled the party and holiday bonuses and ordered massive layoffs as cost-cutting measures. The only way to stop those actions—and save the struggling branch from being shuttered—is to close a deal with Walter before Carol's plane lands in Paris. (Or does it?)

Besides the locales, both movies share winter chills, a fascination with anal sex and hilarious comedic performances. Ironically, Bad Santa 2's Kelly and Office Christmas Party's frank-talking Uber driver Lonny (Fortune Feimster) could switch movies, as they look so much alike.

If you were to put a gun to my head (please don't), I would have to say Bad Santa 2 has more one-liners, many of which are so witty you'll swear Thornton, Bates and Cox improvised them. Johnny Rosenthal and Shauna Cross wrote the script, which is based on the characters of Bad Santa scripters Glenn Ficarra and John Requa.

Co-writers Justin Malen, Laura Solon and Dan Mazer's plot in Office Christmas Party unfolds at a better pace. Co-directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck (Blades of Glory, The Switch) also rely on a deeper roster of winning comedic actors in supporting parts (including Vanessa Bayer, Rob Corddry, Randall Park, and scene-stealers Kate McKinnon and Jillian Bell) than the other flick—not to take anything away from the solid performances by Jenny Zigrino, Ryan Hansen and Jeff Skowron for Bad Santa 2 helmer Mark Waters (Mean Girls, Freaky Friday).

So which to choose? Both are filled with bare asses, expletives and gross-out gags. How your individual family can deal with such attributes may help you select the correct movie. Ask yourself: Can Aunt Millie take the curvy Joan of Mad Men bent over in a Christmas Tree lot yelling, “Fuck me, Santa!” 12 times in rapid succession?

Hmmm, sounds like you still may need some help deciding. The following has been assembled with painstaking care and precision, despite it being based on notes jotted down on the back of an old Kaiser Permanente co-payment receipt—in the darkness of two Cinemark Century Huntington Beach theaters:

F bombs: 154 (one of which is written on something)
Gross-outs: 9
Sacrilegious moments: 3
Laugh-out-loud moments: 4
Ball sack images: 6 (5 of which are during the end credits)
Bare asses: 1 (male)

F bombs: 40 (one of which is written on something)
Gross-outs: 4
Sacrilegious moments: 2
Laugh-out-loud moments: 9
Ball sack images: 1
Bare asses: 4 (both sexes)

Bad Santa 2 was directed by Mark Waters; written by Johnny Rosenthal and Shauna Cross; and stars Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates, Tony Cox and Brett Kelly.

Office Christmas Party was directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck; written by Justin Malen, Laura Solon and Dan Mazer; and stars Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, T.J. Miller and Jennifer Aniston.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *