‘Father Stu’: a Review

Brad Miner | April 19, 2022

Particularly offensive scenes open Father Stu, the new film about Stuart Long, a boxer of apparently questionable morals who became a Catholic priest. Mark Wahlberg plays our hero. In those early scenes, Mel Gibson, as Stu’s father, Bill, taunts the boy Stu (Tenz McCall) with a monologue about excretion, which transitions into scenes from the grown Stu’s amateur boxing career. Mr. Wahlberg shadow boxes wearing only a groin guard – very much like the underwear ads he used to do for Calvin Klein. Then in the ring, there are violent punches, spitting of blood, and copious F-bombs.

Stu leaves his home in Montana for Hollywood, hoping for a career as an actor. He is reluctantly reunited with his father. There is swearing. And drunkenness.

It’s possible to put up with such nastiness in an allegedly “Catholic” film only in expectation of the transformation of Stu Long. Mr. Wahlberg is reasonably convincing as a scumbag, as is Mr. Gibson. Father Stu is directed by Mr. Gibson’s romantic partner, Rosalind Ross. Mr. Gibson, 66, and Miss Ross, 32, have a child, Gibson’s ninth.

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