This strange, dark Christmas movie is a curious mix of fantasy, violence, and surprisingly few overt laughs, but it still somehow seems confident and fully committed to its wild situations. Written and directed by the Nelms brothers, Eshom and Ian, Fatman takes a little while to establish, that, yes, Chris Cringle is the real Santa Claus. He drives a rattletrap pickup truck, but he knows who's naughty and who's nice, he seems to have been around for a very long time, and he has honest-to-goodness elves working for him (they exist on an all-sweets diet). So despite his grumpiness and despite the uneasy real-world connotations of Gibson occupying the role, the character works.
Another secret weapon is Jean-Baptiste as a delightful, no-nonsense Mrs. Claus, supporting Chris and making the situation feel warmer. Goggins is always good at beady-eyed psychopaths, and Hurstfield -- easily drawing comparisons to certain real-world bullying tyrants -- is the perfect little demon child. The tone of Fatman is strange, with pieces and sections feeling like they almost don't quite fit together, butting up against each other and then oddly fitting. It never really feels like it's totally gone off the rails, and it's not entirely surprising, either, but it's just off-kilter enough and has just enough of heart to make it worth a holiday viewing.