102 min - Comedy | Drama

Review: Matt Mungle

We have seen Bill Murray morph into many different styles of characters. Luckily as he ages he doesn't try to reinvent his old self or try and trick audiences into thinking he is still a young funny man. Instead he embraces his age and gives us an older, gentler Murray and because of that he is witty, sarcastic, and funnier than ever. The laughs now though are not sophomoric or slapstick but instead they are a poke at real life and allows us to laugh at humanity in a safe, polite way. Not to mention he is endearing to boot.

ST. VINCENT is the story of Vincent (Murray). At first glance you would write him off as just another crotchety old geezer who has a bad taste in his mouth after sampling what life had to offer. When he gets new neighbors that consist of a recently divorced mother, Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) and her young son, Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher) Vincent is willing to help watch the young boy; for a fee of course. The two unlikely pals soon create a bond that is touching and heartwarming without getting overly gooey.

The biggest surprise of this film amy be Melissa McCarthy. Most are used to her overly crass and crude roles (Bridesmaids, The Heat, Identity Thief) but here she shows that she can play it straight and gain a bit of sympathy. She plays the exasperated single mom trying to catch a break perfectly. You invest in her character and she brings a personal element that could make her the mom down the street. Granted the film is about Vincent and Oliver but she shines when called upon.

Many films have tried the old guy/young kid dynamic in the past with horrible results. The recipe has to be just right. If the kid is an over actor or tries too hard to be likeable it can ruin the flick. If the old guy changes over night it becomes inconceivable. But when each role is handled with just the right amount of seasoning it pays off hugely; and does here.

Oliver gets to experience life with Vincent as he is dragged along to bars and horse racing events.He is touched by Vincent though and is able to see through the outward facade to the heart of the man. Much of life should be seen through the eyes of a child. The spirit of the film shines through in those moments. Yes it is funny and the animosity and bickering between Vince and Maggie is a treat to watch. But the nuggets are found in the beauty of the relationship between boy and man. It culminates in a heart stirring conclusion that may give you the sniffles.

ST. VINCENT is rated PG-13 for mature thematic material including sexual content, alcohol and tobacco use, and for language. Though it has a kid in it you might not want your kid watching it. Adults can separate the message from the content more so than the youngsters. It truly is a well crafted comedy. I give it 3.75 out of 5 water hoses. You get the power house of Murray with a wonderful surprise from McCarthy.




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