Review: Fatman’s concept is better than its execution, but it’s still kinda fun

Screenshot from Fatman trailer

Enlarge / Mel Gibson plays Chris Cringle, a disillusioned Christmas shopkeeper in North Peak, Alaska. (credit: YouTube/Saban Films)

There’s a fine line between comedy and tragedy, which is why black comedy is a film genre that is notoriously tough to get right. Despite good performances and some nice moments, Fatman—in which Mel Gibson plays a gruff, grizzled, disillusioned Santa—doesn’t quite succeed tonally in finding that elusive sweet spot. The trailer was certainly promising, but the concept is better than the ultimate execution. That said, it’s still pretty entertaining, and a solid addition to the growing genre of what one might call “anti-holiday” films.

(Some spoilers below, but no major reveals.)

Written and directed by brothers Eshom and Ian Nelms (Small Town Crime), the film co-stars Walton Goggins (The Righteous Gemstones, Ant-Man and the Wasp) and Oscar-nominee Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Secrets and Lies, Blindspot). Per the official premise:

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All we want for Christmas is Mel Gibson’s Bad Santa in the Fatman trailer

Mel Gibson plays a bitter, hard-drinking Chris Cringle in the forthcoming film Fatman.

If you’re one of those people who consider Die Hard and the first Lethal Weapon film a classic Christmas movie double feature, we’ve got good news for you. Mel Gibson plays a broke, embittered, hard-drinking, heavily armed Santa Claus in the forthcoming action/comedy Fatman. The official trailer dropped yesterday, and it looks like an irreverently fun, wild ride.

Written and directed by brothers Eshom and Ian Nelms (Small Town Crime), the film co-stars Walton Goggins (The Righteous Gemstones, Ant-Man and the Wasp) and Oscar-nominee Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Secrets and Lies, Blindspot). Per the official premise:

To save his declining business, Chris Cringle (Gibson), also known as Santa Claus, is forced into a partnership with the U.S. military. Making matters worse, Chris gets locked into a deadly battle of wits against a highly skilled assassin (Goggins), hired by a precocious 12-year-old after receiving a lump of coal in his stocking. ‘Tis the season for Fatman to get even, in the action-comedy that keeps on giving.

“I don’t know what I’m doing wrong—I’ve lost my influence,” we see Gibson’s Cringle mourn to Mrs. Cringle (Jean-Baptiste) about the decline in his business. “Maybe it’s time I retired the coast. Some kids with an air rifle put two holes in the sleigh and one in me. All I have is a loathing for a world that’s forgotten.” So when the US military arrives to “procure” his services, he accepts, with the caveat that it will be a “one-time deal.”

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#entertainment, #fatman, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #mel-gibson, #saban-films

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