America – or, at least, a majority of its citizens – ultimately rejected Donald Trump. Still, one way or another, the Mel Gibson buyout plan continues unabated. The final chapter of this business is Fat man, a dark take on Santa Claus in which the disgraced anti-Semitic / racist / sexist actor plays a grizzled ‘Chris Cringle’, disheartened by the waning holiday spirit and, as a result, the growing number of songs from coal that he must distribute to rebellious kids. Unhappy that he is no longer as loved as he once was, Gibson’s Chris is a world-renowned icon bitter about his new second-rate status and the fact that others are exploiting him for their own benefit. Reality and fiction don’t mirror each other much more transparently or awkwardly
Written and directed by Little crooks of time filmmakers Eshom and Ian Nelms, Fat man (which debuts November 13 in theaters and November 24 on VOD and digital) imagines her Santa Claus in distinctly Gibson-ian terms, which will no doubt be music to the ears of Megyn Kellys of the world that loves Fox News , see St. Nick conforming to their own white, conservative ideals. Alas, it doesn’t do it to a noticeably entertaining end. The dark, murderous vibe of this mix of uplifting fable, assassin actor, and grim holiday comedy just doesn’t work, less because those elements are inherently incompatible and because the Nelms Brothers fail to develop. their premises shifted in an intelligent mind. or in a humorous way. Instead, they ironically assume, casting a notoriously mean guy like Gibson as the embodiment of merry mirth is a joke capable of supporting a revisionist Christmas saga. In the end, they are wrong.
Father Christmas Fat man (produced by Danny McBride and David Gordon Green) is a cranky old coot who sports a gray beard and is buried under layers of furry hats, flannel shirts and chunky overcoats. He snaps photos at the local bar, lets off steam by lying in a punching bag, and constantly mumbles about his growing obsolescence in a growing world that doesn’t need or want him. This Chris wants to give up, although his wife Ruth (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) won’t let him. So when he finds himself in dire financial straits – because his contract with the U.S. government says annual grants depend on the volume of gifts he delivers, and those are declining – he agrees to contract with the army to help them ship parts for their new fighter jets.
It hits Chris like a sell-out, and of course, on Boxing Day – while still recovering from a gunshot wound he suffered in the course of his annual duties – he cries as he breaks the news. at his elf workshop. Fat man, however, does not present this turn of events as inherently negative; the more he collaborates with the military, the more Chris becomes his old self again, renewed by a sense of purpose and, also, by the lucrative checks that Uncle Sam begins to send him. He is reborn thanks to cold cash, which now enables him to fulfill his responsibilities as a benevolent godfather who gives young boys and girls toys bearing a tiny plaque bearing the inscription “Made in Santa’s” Workshop ”- a strange scenario in which Santa Claus comes across as both crudely interested and commercial, not to mention a bit of an egomaniac.
The conflict of Fat man is that there’s a real war on Christmas, and it’s orchestrated by pre-school tween Billy (Chance Hurstfield), who responds to a loss in a science fair by threatening his rival with torture ( to scare him for giving up his victory), and who reacts to the lump of coal he finds under his tree by hiring his favorite assassin (Walton Goggins) to find and kill Chris. Since Goggins’ hitman is also a tedious creep – his office and home are austere and meticulous; his clothes include black jacket and turtleneck sets – and he harbors a bitter resentment over past clashes related to Cringle, he readily accepts the job, setting out in search of the vacation titan’s carefully hidden lair and exact justice in the name of all those punks who rightly didn’t get what they didn’t deserve.
Given that Fat man is destined to have Goggins’ killer face off against Gibson’s Chris, there’s no tension in the quest for the former to find out where the latter is, and the charismatic dependable Goggins is handcuffed by a one-note character who doesn’t t is neither funny nor particularly threatening. The same goes for Billy, a snotty nosed sociopath who finances his criminal campaigns with checks stolen from his wealthy grandmother in a wheelchair. Their scenes, both together and apart, are functional and boring, designed only to emphasize their fragmented personalities and motivations, and to move the plot forward to its inevitable climax. The fact that the Nelms brothers can’t wrest a single single moment from their struggles – or the various details of Chris’s surgery, like his elves’ high-sugar diet – leaves the procedure feeling like an original premise that doesn’t has not been properly fleshed out.
“Representing Mrs. Cringle as a black woman seems designed to counter Gibson’s infamous racist reputation …“
Gibson gives off the type of brat not to step on me that became his stock and trade after the scandal, though here tempered by touches of selfless (he really cares about the kids, or he says) and genuine kindness. love for Chris’ wife, Ruth. Portraying Ms. Cringle as a black woman seems designed to counter Gibson’s infamous racist reputation (born out of his rant to ex-partner Oksana Grigorieva: “You look like a fucking pig in heat, and if you’re raped by a pack of n *** ers, it will be your fault ”). Although it is difficult to understand why Jean-Baptiste would want to participate in this enterprise, it fails; Gibson’s obnoxious crotchetiness stays in the foreground throughout Fat man, embittered the film’s attempts to make Santa Claus endearing.
As in so many recent Gibson releases, resolve and salvation are ultimately achieved through the barrel of a gun, with a series of shootouts consuming the last twenty minutes of this inert matter. Trying to find a balance between bitter and sweet, Fat man stumbles to a finale in which Gibson transforms into a possessed, vengeful god who demands and receives better adolescent behavior via the threat of violence. Chris’ revelation is that chastising children for being bad isn’t enough, and in fact probably breeds resentment that turns them into evil adults; the best way is to scare them into submission. No doubt the writers / directors intend this to be ironic as well. But such a worldview is as childishly gloomy as it is cruel – which, in turn, makes her feel in tune with her headliner.
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