Saturday, November 01, 2014

St. Vincent

         It's an old cliche'd plot, curmudgeon is softened by a precocious youngster but Bill Murray is the perfect choice to breathe new life into this unoriginal story. Years ago, Walter Matthau would have been the star of this film but in the here and now, Bill Murray works his magic.

         When Maggie (played by Melissa McCarthy) and her 12 year old son, Oliver (played by Jaeden Lieberher) move next door to the cantankerous Vincent,  his routine life becomes upended. Needing money, Vincent agrees to "babysit" Oliver and as he provides unusual life lessons for the boy, Oliver begins to crack the hard shell Vincent has built around himself.

         Ms. McCarthy is the "straight man" for a change and while she is good enough in her role, there is nothing special about it and any fireworks you would expect between her and Mr. Murray are played softy and with subtlety. The young Mr. Lieberher is terrific as Oliver and he has real chemistry with Mr. Murray. The film also co-stars Naomi Watts as  Vincent's "girlfriend", a pregnant Russian stripper/prostitute who is fine in the part but overdoes the accent.

         The film is billed as a comedy but it also has some very serious sub-plots that almost overshadow the lighthearted humor. The story moves along as expected and the title pretty much telegraphs the schmaltzy ending but Bill Murray carries the load and keeps things interesting. 

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