Long before he was terrorizing his parents on the Jackass show and movies, Bam Margera had carved out a small niche for himself as a professional skateboarder. He recorded, produced and distributed skateboarding videos combined with stunts in the Jackass mold, done under the title of Camp Kill Yourself (or CKY), which was later to become a band with Margera's brother Jess as its drummer. Following the success of Jackass, Margera had his own shows on MTV, the first being Viva La Bam, which centered around the goofy hijinks of Margera and his friends both in and out of the town limits of West Chester, Pennsylvania, Margera's home. Bam's Unholy Union was a short run of episodes surrounding the marriage of Margera to his childhood sweetheart Missy, but included many of the same people doing many of the same stupid stunts. Through all of it, Margera possessed a certain charisma which might be the explanation for him still getting shows on MTV, along with his own broadcast channel on Sirius radio.
Which might also explain why he's releasing a straight-to-video feature titled Where the #$&% is Santa? The film is supposed to be Margera's attempt at a Christmas film, attempting to bring Santa Claus back from the Arctic Circle to West Chester, and bringing along his friends. But if you've seen the Margera shows, the first thing you'll recognize is that there's no Ryan Dunn, no Chris Raab, nobody from the older productions. You get someone named Mark Hanna, who screams like a girl when a map of Finland is tattooed onto his stomach, and Brandon Novak, who's apparently a longtime friend of Bam's, but he looks like Marilyn Manson and deserves a slap in the mouth for being as obnoxious as he is. Come to think of it, all of these people deserve a collective punch. Everyone around Bam is there to endure all of the stupid pranks (which by this point, are nothing but exotic wake-up calls), and then they bitch and moan to the point where Bam has to give them a gift, and then I'm guessing when the well runs dry, an MTV show comes out. Seriously, somebody stop this circle of stupidity before it strikes again.
When it comes to the stunts, I mentioned that waking people up creatively is the main gist of what occurs on this film. There's also the obligatory jackass stunt or two, like eating an eyeball or doing shots of candle wax. But the stunts are hardly worth watching, so then the viewer's challenge becomes watching the film and seeing Margera and company's trip to Finland. I'm going to guess at least some of it has been paid for, but Finland is beautiful, and is definitely worth the trip. Margera visits a couple of his favorite bands in the process, namely HIM and Hanoi Rocks before getting up there, and along with Novak, Hanna and others (including a pair of Finns named the Dudesons), they managed to go and find Santa, or at least a drunk local with a white beard who passed for Santa.
The film, at 93 minutes, is frankly unendurable for a couple of reasons. As I mentioned earlier, the stunts are boring and not worth watching, and everything is done at Margera's whim without objection. But in terms of flow, this is really nothing more than an episode of Viva La Bam, with a transparent storyline, a conclusion at the end, and a lot of montages of the group walking down the street in slow motion, with Margera occasionally throwing his fist in the air to tell you that this in fact rocks. But it hardly does that. If eating reindeer genitalia is supposed to "rock," then I'll stick to easy listening music done by people who are at least talented with something other than a skateboard.
Filmed in 1.85:1 widescreen and using the VC-1 codec, Where the #$&% is Santa? looks average. There's a lot of color through the feature with occasional saturation and contrast problems, images tend to lose their sharpness in closer shots, and the level of detail and depth is nonexistent. There's no dimensionality to speak of either, and I'd guess there's no difference between the Blu-ray and standard definition discs when it comes to quality.
English and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound options are on the disc, and they're capable. It's got loads of music throughout which sounds nice, and there were a couple of shots where the subwoofer piped in (like when a tree was dropped through a car). There were even a couple of directional effects when someone would fall down and cry out in pain, which surprised me. Come to think of it, those cries were mine...
Meh, there's a stills gallery and a trailer (2:25), but there are also 12 deleted scenes (22:08), some of which are extended. There's also a complete musical performance from the band HIM, but the other scenes show just how much the film crew enjoyed being there and walking around with Bam's gang. And by enjoyed I mean apparently loathing it.
The only thing that separates Where the #$&% is Santa? and the many episodes of Bam Margera's series that air regularly on the MTV networks is that there's a little more nudity and poo, and no commercials to break up the insanity. Technically there's no discernible difference in high definition either, and the extras are small and pointless. This amounts to nothing more than a cash grab for the holidays, but at least you can use the disc as a coaster for your egg nog, right?