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ST. VINCENT (review)

Review by Caitlyn Thompson
Produced by Fred Roos, Jenno Topping, 
Peter Chernin, Theodore Melfi
Written and Directed by Theodore Melfi
Starring Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, 
Chris O’Dowd, Scott Adsit, Naomi Watts, 
Oliver Bronstein, Terrence Howard

While St. Vincent might be exactly what you think it’s going to be, the movie is still great.

I laughed the whole time and didn’t mind the simple and predictable plotline.

The story of a cantankerous old man forming an unlikely friendship has been done many times, and the antihero always turns out to be someone’s saint, as it were. Think of Up, think of As Good as it Gets, and Murray’s previous performance in Rushmore.

Regardless of the details, and in many cases, the offensive insults, these movies are entertaining and heartwarming at the core.

There really isn’t much to say about St. Vincent’s plot. We have Vincent, a drunken, grumpy war veteran, and young Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher), the new next-door neighbor who’s in need of a babysitter.

A hilarious and inappropriate friendship begins. It’s all a bit cliché but as I said before, heartwarming nonetheless.

Vincent is rude, quick to insult and seemingly careless, content on drinking, gambling and engaging in explicit activities with a Russian erotic dancer, Daka, played by Naomi Watts—she has good one-liners and I found her role rather touching in an unconventional way.

Oliver is caught in the middle of his parents’ divorce and forced to fend for himself (unsuccessfully with the bullies at school…at first) as his mother works very long hours.

Murray’s Vincent is loveable for the sheer fact that he so run down. His Brooklyn accent makes every mumbled utterance amusing. And his disregard for bodily care is ridiculous and thus, very entertaining. His sentimentality shines through briefly, and mostly towards his cat, Felix.

Jaeden Lieberher has great timing, and a wonderfully curious expression always present on his adorable face. While Oliver may not be privy to the less-than-kosher details of various situations, he is well aware of complexity (and hardship). He’s accepting of the grit as he’s suspended in a state of familial dysfunction. And he has unconventional fun with Vincent, fighting, gambling, mime-fighting/dancing to a jukebox in the back of a strip club.

The chemistry between Murray and Lieberher is lively and clearly demonstrates that the actors had a blast filming.

Chris O’Dowd as Oliver’s school teacher, Father Geraghty, and Melissa McCarthy as the single mom, have smaller roles and they’re, as ever, quite funny in their typical ways, O’Dowd especially. Sharp lines, humorous and brief, but that’s about it for those characters.

Would St. Vincent be as enjoyable had Bill Murray not been the lead actor?

I’m not convinced.

Is the performance worth the premature Oscar buzz?

Probably not. But Murray is great. And Lieberher does a great job beside him.

No further scrutiny needed.

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