Bad Santa

Working from a story by the Coen brothers, director Terry Zwigoff has made a film calculated to affront anyone who holds the holidays sacred. It is vile, hateful, andfor most of its 90-odd minutesutterly soulless. That said, I can't imagine chortling so heartily, and guiltily, at a blacker black comedy this year. Billy Bob Thornton (pictured) plays a self-loathing, foul-mouthed, alcoholic safecracker who annually dons white beard and red suit for his criminal M.O.: He and his elfin cohort (Tony Cox) loot a department store every Christmas Eve and live large for the rest of the year. This brutal, mean-spirited deconstruction of holiday mythology is the perfect black-coffee chaser to your Cat in the Hat Happy Meal. (R) Continues at Alderwood, Bellevue Galleria, Factoria, Lewis & Clark, Meridian, Mountlake, Redmond Town Center, Varsity, and Woodinville. ANDREW BONAZELLI

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