Marcus is not a real elf, of course; that’s just his cover. As played by Tony Cox in Bad Santa, Marcus is an experienced thief who works with a mall Santa, Willie (Billy Bob Thornton), who’s really a safecracker. Every year, the pair work a mall in a different city, casing the stores when they’re not entertaining kids’ requests for presents, and then they grab the merchandise and the cash on Christmas Eve.
Despite his sidekick role, Marcus is the brains of the operation; indeed, one of his responsibilities is keeping the increasingly drunken and self-pitying Willie out of the gutter. Marcus is also a master of invective, with a torrent of foul-mouthed insults for Willie and anyone else who stands in his way. He’s also ruthless behind the wheel, as venal mall security chief Gin (Bernie Mac) learns too late. Willie may be an expert at cracking safes, but it’s Cox’s Marcus who steals the movie.