Heartwarming in an inappropriate kind of way. This is about a single mom (Melissa McCarthy) and her son (Jaeden Lieberher), moving into the neighborhood and getting off on the wrong foot with their curmudgeon of a neighbor (Bill Murray). He’s not all bad, though, and he starts to become friends with the boy. I don’t know if you’ve seen Bill Murray popping up at award ceremonies recently, but he’s not looking so great; he has liver spots and wrinkles galore, and whenever he’s giving a speech, you start to become concerned for his overall health. He manages to use this to advantage in St. Vincent, and he knows how to play a rascal in a film that could have otherwise been called Bad Neighbor.
I have no idea how Bill Murray spends his time when he’s not on set, but if it is the way that’s featured in this film, it wouldn’t surprise me.
Spiritually, this movie reminds me a lot of a personal favorite of mine: Trees Lounge. It’s funny in a sad kind of way, it focuses on older pathetic male failure who is well past the point of caring, and it has a lot of unique perspective as far as how exactly you can approach life. It features a sense of humor that appeals to me, as it is something that would likely be approved by the Coen brothers, and rings small, but genuine. I like so much of what this is doing, and that’s saying a lot, as this is coming from somebody who actively hates Melissa McCarthy; for once, she’s not just being the butt of every fat joke, and she actually gets to showcase her acting ability. I’ve never criticized her as an actress before, only the projects she has chosen to work on, and this makes me kind of hate all of her other movies more.
Even though ultimately, it’s these two that you walk away talking about.
If I were to say one thing about this movie, it would be that it has a lot of heart. It hits a wide array of different notes, and although you may catch yourself getting whiplash from the tonal shifts, it ultimately has a whole lot of charm. The character that Murray is portraying is fascinating, and when you find out the reason why he is the way that he is, everything just clicks. I was very impressed from what I saw from child actor Jaeden Lieberher, and he has nothing but promising things in his future. Bill Murray’s still got it, and he the reason to watch this, as he stands out like he usually does. Even though this is a dark comedy, it is feel good, and I have to give it a high recommendation, given that I had a blast watching it.
St. Vincent (2014) ****
– Critic for Hire
Want to see where this fell in my list of best films of the 2014? See for yourself here.