Mel Gibson called "worst Santa of all time" in savage first reviews for new movie

Sam Warner
·3-min read
Photo credit: Saban Films
Photo credit: Saban Films

From Digital Spy

The verdict is in on Mel Gibson's new Christmas movie Fatman, and the consensus seems to be that it's the equivalent of a lump of coal in your stocking.

Yep, Gibson's take on Santa Claus in the dark comedy has been dubbed the "worst of all time" in the new dark comedy, some calling it "bland", "cheap", "cynical" and even an "instrument of torture". Yikes.

The movie follows Chris Cringle as he is forced into a partnership with the US military due to his declining business, while also getting locked in a battle of wits with a deadly assassin, who is hired by a child who received a lump of coal.

Photo credit: Saban Films
Photo credit: Saban Films

Here's what critics had to say (grab the popcorn):

New York Post

"And here I thought the pandemic would ruin Christmas. But Mel Gibson got there first. For his latest instrument of torture, aka film, the actor plays Chris Cringle, aka Santa Claus, in Fatman. Many performers have given a unique spin on Father Christmas, from Edmund Gwenn as the traditional jolly type in Miracle on 34th Street to Tim Allen as an angry divorced dad in The Santa Clause. Gibson's Canadian schlub with a sooty beard and John Wayne voice is the worst of them all."

Photo credit: Saban Films
Photo credit: Saban Films

Consequence of Sound

"Elf with a hard R-rating. Low-budget Lethal Weapon. Another lump of coal in Gibson's rapidly declining filmography. Fatman has no gifts to speak of. It's kind of cheap. It's fairly cynical and/or mean-spirited. It's not fun. No good. Lumpy in execution. Deeply archaic in its thinking. Ho ho ho-hum."

IndieWire

"Fatman wants to show us that we're on the wrong track, and that going back to the way things used to be is our best chance to rediscover the true meaning of Christmas. But this bland stab at seasonal entertainment is too enamored by its own edgy revisionism to deliver on that promise, and after the 2020 that we've been having, everyone – young, old, Christian, and not – deserves something better in their stocking this year."

Photo credit: Saban Films
Photo credit: Saban Films

TheWrap

"There's an interesting idea for a movie in Fatman, which seeks to spin a bleak and wintry hitman tale into a deadpan dark Christmas comedy by making Santa Claus the target of that hired killer. It never makes it past the idea stage, unfortunately, since mixing these disparate genres together would require an absolute mastery of tone that the film can't quite muster."

The Hollywood Reporter

"Despite this casting and the increasingly head-spinning plot – the US government hires Santa's workforce to make parts for fighter jets; a rich kid who gets coal under the tree hires a hitman to punish the once-jolly gift-giver – Fatman doesn't elicit the response one rightly expects, the mouth-agape astonishment of wondering how and why such a movie came to exist.

"The film realizes it's being outrageous, but it's not one of those prefab cult movies that cynically throws one absurdity after another onscreen in the hopes of going viral. Heaven help them, the Nelms brothers actually care about this story, and they hope you will too. If you're the kind of viewer who isn't too put off by the resonances between Gibson's screen persona and his offscreen behavior, you just might. (Which will be lucky since, nutty premise notwithstanding, the movie rarely tries to make you laugh.)"

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