Through all its misery and crudeness, it’s easy to forget that Bad Santa is really a comedy at heart. Billy Bob Thorton is the titular department store Santa, an alcoholic who takes scores with a partner named Marcus; the pair works malls in order to rob them. It's a Christmas movie for the jaded masses.
Unlike a lot of crime-comedies, Bad Santa is character-driven rather than obsessed with the nuts and bolts of the scheme. You don't watch for the ingenuity of the plan, you watch because Santa is harassing women, drinking heavily, and vomiting. Director Terry Zwigoff is the master of the misanthrope, and there are very few crime-comedies that can match the cynicism of Bad Santa.