Review by Tracee Bond
Billy Bob Thornton has always been successful in his roles as the infamous underachiever. In this film, he plays true to character as the formidable Willie Soke who decides to suit up once again with the hope of making his miserable life a little more cheerful by doing what he does best. Although his former sidekick Marcus (Tony Cox) tried to kill him during their last project, he convinces Willie that he is the best man for a new project and that he basically should have gotten over the last one. The new project, which involves working with a charitable organization as a Santa in order to rob them blind, becomes a bit more than Willie bargained for when he realizes the head honcho of the organized heist is his mother, Sunny Soke (Kathy Bates). Bates is remarkable in her role as a Butchified motherly figure who doesn’t bite her tongue in explaining why she was a horrible mother to Willie, but how desperately she needs his help to do this one last heist.
The three main roles of Willie, Sunny and Marcus cut to the chase very early in the film in the portrayal of a trio of obnoxious morons who are worthless individuals who together become a worthless group. An under and overstated raunchiness is the foundation of almost every single encounter as the villains all have ulterior motives which leads to each of them expecting to claim the heist as their own at the end of the day. What isn’t factored into the equation is the impact of Sunny’s untreated illness, the overbearing friendship of Willie’s mentee, Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly) and the limitations Marcus’ side brings to the table. All of these things though come together to provide the foundation for an endless amount of punchlines that carry the film from the beginning to end with gut-wrenching laughter.
Director Mark Waters clearly has a winning formula for success on his hands with Academy, Golden Globe and Emmy-winner Kathy Bates, Academy Award-Winner Billy Bob Thornton and Emmy Award-nominee Christina Hendricks, however Brett Kelly (Thurman Merman) and Tony Scott (Marcus) truly steal the show. While there is much to be said about heroes in this film, there is much more empathy with the human side of these anti-heroes that puts all of the raunchiness in perspective. If you truly are looking for sheer laughs, this film doesn’t disappoint, even at the risk of the assassination of all the character hopefuls that are really funny for all the wrong reasons.