Bernie Mac and John Ritter did not receive an Oscar nominations for portraying Gin Slagel and Bob Chipeska respectively in Bad Santa.
Sadly a connection between these two performances is this marks one of the last performances of both comedic actors who unfortunately both left us far too soon. This at the very least though is a prime chance for both actors to show off their talents. Mac and Ritter play the head of security and manager respectively to the mall that is the next target of Marcus Skidmore (Tony Cox) and Willie T. Soke (Billy Bob Thornton) who play the mall elf and
Santa in order to eventually rob the mall. Ritter and Mac play what would appear to be the opposition to this plan although not all goes to plan in that regard. A funny note about Ritter here is this is his follow up collaboration with his friend Billy Bob Thornton, after the far more serious minded Sling Blade. Ritter perhaps is technically more at home here playing the store manager who doesn't quite know what to do with this new Santa, who he hired just for working for less. Ritter's great in portraying Chipeska as perhaps the man least qualified to deal with Willie's manner, right from his initial hilarious horrified reaction in an initial misunderstanding about Willie's sexual performance. Ritter's specific aghast face is a classic when it comes to that sort of reaction as he looks upon Willie, delivering the lines as though he an barely comprehend what has happened as he inquires what's going on.
After his initial introduction Ritter is a diversion that occasional appears that is always quite welcome portraying such a terrific spineless and queasy reaction to everything that Willie is. His other scenes though he shares most often with Mac's Gin who Chipeska asks to investigate Willie. In these scenes Ritter is so effectively nebbish in portraying Chipeska's very weak way of asking for Gin to take on the investigation, so well emphasizing that any taboo matter, which includes the preferred term for a person with dwarfism, with both a moment hesitation and almost indigestion at the thought. Now where Ritter is a marvelous little diversion Mac's role is a bit a more substantial given he may be the one man to be able to stop Marcus and Willie. As with Ritter, Mac is perfectly cast in this role as Gin and overall Mac and Ritter's scenes together are highlights within the film. With Ritter being so hesitant while Mac is so properly straight forward as Gin from his opening line of "Fuckstick?" when pondering about the new Santa. Mac's performance is hilarious in actually being rather no-nonsense despite being obviously funny. This plays so well against Ritter's work which always accentuates the tip toeing that Chipeska is doing, meanwhile Gin cuts right through it without a second thought.
Mac outside of those great scenes portrays Gin as actually rather competent head of security as he quickly discovers not only who Marcus and Willie really are but also what they are up to. As with Ritter, any time we stop by with Gin Mac is a delight in revealing this casual yet somehow intense style of Gin, that is particularly funny to watch whether he is dealing out specific pedicure methods or taking down a young shoplifter by stealing his Mp3 player. Mac finds this certain balance as he's is indeed commanding as a proper officer of the law, but his intention is not exactly equal to that. It is revealed that intention is even worse though when rather than having the two robbers arrested he decides instead to extort them by taking half of their take. Mac's great in the initial vicious dressing down which he controls with the right proper smug assurance. The best moment in this though perhaps coming in negotiation for the take where Mac manages to find about fifteen different ways to say half, making some comedic gold out of saying the same thing over and over again. Unfortunately for Gin ripping the two off is not so easy due to Willie's erratic behavior and Marcus not wanting to be ripped off. Mac so enjoyably loses Gin's earlier assurance in these hiccups portraying the frustrations of Gin so amusingly when he has to keep helping them. I have particular affection for his complete loss of his command when he has to concede to the diminutive Marcus's logic that he physically would not be able to move Willie himself forcing Gin to do it. Mac's work makes the most out of his side story as does Ritter to the point that I would have loved to have seen more of them particularly together. Nevertheless what we do get is more than satisfactory due to the incredible comedic timing of both actors who deliver incredibly entertaining performances that don't waste an ounce of their material.