Fatman (2020)

Mel Gibson as a weathered, R-rated Santa Claus protecting his life and livelihood from a vengeful mercenary (Walton Goggins) hired by a rich, not-at-all-nice 12-year-old boy (Chance Hurstfield) who wants him dead. That’s the type of logline where you’re either with it or you’re not. If you’re like me, you’re sold instantly. If you’re asking, say, logistical questions, you might want to hold off on these crudely entertaining festivities.

About as dry and bitter as an off-brand seasonal IPA, Fatman may be an acquired taste. But if you’re in the right jolly mood, it’ll bring lots of holiday cheer for the adults. Benefitted enormously by a talented ensemble committed wholly to playing this goofy premise straight, without too many cutesy or winking moments, this darkly amusing lark from Eshom and Ian Nelms is a peculiar delight, one that’s refreshingly refrained in its approach. While the tone’s uneven, some subplots involving the elves become short-sighted, the visuals are sometimes too drab, and it overstays its welcome a bit, Fatman is a rollicking good time from start-to-finish. It’s unsuspectedly sweet at times, too.

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