Whoever cut the trailer for “Fatman” deserves a little something extra in their stocking this Christmas. Mel Gibson playing a despairing, bad Santa railing against the ballooning number of naughty kids while fending off a hitman hired to kill him offered some promise of perverse pleasure that, alas, the movie itself doesn’t deliver. “Fatman” isn’t a lump of coal. More like a fruitcake your neighbor dropped off in early December that’s left on the counter through the new year, its red and green cherries hardening into buckshot before being hauled out to the curb with the Christmas tree.
The main problem with “Fatman” is that it plays its premise straight, squandering the opportunity to be the kind of gonzo holiday movie that could serve as seasonal counterprogramming to treacly Hallmark Channel fare. There’s a brief moment at the end of the film where Gibson’s Chris Cringle squares off against Walton Goggins’ hamster-loving assassin and bellows, “You think I got this job because I’m fat and jolly?” The line hints at the movie “Fatman” could have been had its creators possessed a little more focus and courage.