Monday, March 9, 2015

St. Vincent (2014) (PG-13)

Director: Theodore Melfi
Starring: Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Chris O’Dowd, Terrence Howard, Jaeden Lieberher

Normally, I try to start a review with a slow build to what my true feelings about a movie actually are. This will not be one of those reviews. Do yourself a favor, as soon as you read the rest of this, turn off whatever device you’re using to read it on and watch St. Vincent (2014) directed by Theodore Melfi. I cannot recommend this film enough (seriously, I bet there’s bound to be a Redbox near by.)

Bill Murray plays Vincent, a drinking, smoking, gambling schlub with a snide comment for every occasion. After a minor run in with his new neighbor Maggie (McCarthy), a divorced lab tech working long hours to support her young son Oliver (played perfectly by Jaeden Lieberher), Vincent gets stuck watching Oliver when he gets locked out. Realizing there is a way to make a quick buck, Vincent offers to babysit after school so Maggie can go to work. I’m going to stop right there. To go on would do this film a disservice. You'll just have to see it for yourself.

So, what makes this flick so great? Hmmm. Where to start? Bill Murray (need I say more? Yeah, maybe I should.) is amazing as usual. The man has not lost that touch which made him so beloved to us over the years, he’s only made it sharper (I could go on for hours.). Next up on the roster is Melissa McCarthy. To be honest, I have been a fan of hers for years. But I’ll admit the goofy shtick was beginning to get old. But in this she’s back to that sweet realistic character who you can’t help but root for (we missed ya, kid.).

Naomi Watts was a complete surprise in a role which I was pleasantly not prepared for. Her comedic timing kept up with Sir Bill in spades (I won’t ruin it for you.). The endearingly funny Chris O’Dowd is excellent as usual as Brother Geraghty, Oliver’s quick-witty Catholic school teacher (check him out on The IT Crowd (2006). After you watch the movie, of course.). Terrence Howard, who I am hot and cold on for the most part, played his role with a a subtleness that adds levels to the character which I haven't seen coming from him since Hustle And Flow (2005). Which brings me to Jaeden Lieberher as Oliver. Keep an eye in this one, he is going to do some great things. He doesn’t over sell the part, he makes it his own. With many young actors, having the weight of working with veterans can be a challenge. Oliver comes off as a layered, well thought out character who isn’t overwritten to be smarter than he is.

The screenplay (also written by Melfi) was smart, building on each person gradually. Not rushing into spilling truths too early. Hinting and letting the reveal come with time. Finding films that do this well in these days of "getting to the point in the first act” is refreshing, showing a really love of the project from Melfi.

And yeah, I’ll admit it. I teared up (send your emails to and they will be deleted in a timely fashion). Now, I don’t want you to think that these were all just tears of sadness (maybe a few. No spoilers). Oh no, they were happy tears, sad tears, joyous tears (did I just write joyous. Sheesh. Moving on.). My friends, you will run the gamut emotions with this one. Alright, I’m going to wrap this up shortly. Remember what we talked about earlier. You’re going to watch this, right? I’m trusting you. In summation, St. Vincent is one of the those movies that hits a lot of notes and always stays in tune. It’s just a great film. Do enjoy it. And what’s not to enjoy. It has Bill (freakin’) Murray in it.

To the RedBox!

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