St. Vincent – Review
With a marketing campaign that pitches something akin to a Christmasless take on Bad Santa; St. Vincent has been strategically marketed so as to imply Bill Murray’s long awaited return to traditional mainstream comedy. But while the film is disappointingly more in line with the former comedy titan’s long worn tread of twee and mostly laughterless dramedies; it’s noteworthy that St. Vincent is without doubt the finest, funniest piece of work Murray’s been involved with for over twenty years – his Zombieland cameo notwithstanding.
The story of a misanthropic senior citizen who wiles away his days in a haze of booze and horse racing; Murray’s Vincent finds his world instantly changed when a single mother and her articulate young son move in next door. With the relationship between OAP and young outcast quickly developing into an unconventional friendship, the pair begin to learn from one another how best to fill the voids in their respective lives.
A startlingly raw performance by Murray is the lynchpin of writer/director Theodore Melfi’s feature length debut; a touching and investable dramedy which veers in directions one wouldn’t predict yet never loses its base as a sincere and unapologetically character-driven story. With solid support from McCarthy as the oh-so-easy-to-be-thankless single mom and a stellar debut from young Jaeden Lieberher as Vincent’s would-be ward; only a slightly too cartoonish turn by Naomi Watts hampers things, though thankfully not quite enough to derail the whole show.
With its lead edged slightly closer to the genre in which he belongs and is so missed; St. Vincent may not deliver on the cynical laughfest its marketing would suggest, but instead delivers just enough warmth, charm and enjoyment to warrant its titular character his prefix.
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Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Jaeden Lieberher