Friday, October 24, 2014

Movie Review: "St. Vincent" (2014)

Movie"St. Vincent"
Director: Theodore Melfi
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 42 minutes
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A woman named Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) is going through a divorce. She and her son Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher) have just moved in next store to Vincent (Bill Murray), who is a seemingly unpleasant man. Because of her divorce, Maggie works full time as a nurse and often has to work overtime, giving her little time to spend with her son. One day at school, all of Oliver's cell phone, his keys, and wallet are stolen by some bullies. This leaves Oliver locked out of his house, leading him to ask his neighbor Vincent if he could use his phone. Vincent reluctantly allows Oliver to call his mom and agrees to watch him until his mom gets home...well, for $12 dollars an hour. Vincent is not the type of person you usually have watch your kid: he's an alcoholic, he smokes, he has a huge gambling debt, and he gets frequent visits from a pregnant Russian dancer/prostitute named Daka (Naomi Watts). Maggie is not aware of this and is desperate for a babysitter, so she agrees to let Vincent watch her son. As Oliver spends more and more time with Vincent, he starts discovers there may actually be a heart under his gruff exterior, so much so that this rude gambling alcoholic may actually be worthy of sainthood.

Some people might think this movie is way too cheesy to be good or realistic, and while it's pretty sappy, we loved it and we're not ashamed to say it! Bill Murray is a rare gem, a god amongst men even, and I want him to come to my funeral when I die. In my mind, we are best friends. He is fantastic in this movie as title character Vincent, a cliche old man and crabby drunk who has had a seasoned life and just wants to drink, gamble, and be left alone. Any problems the movie has are completely dissipated with Murray at the helm. He has this strange way about him that lets him make even the worst of assholes compelling, though as we have mentioned before, being old is not an excuse for you to be an asshole in life. Murray delivers many funny lines and has many hilarious scenes, but also manages to be touching and even likable through his dickishness. Jaeden Lieberher, in his feature film debut, is absolutely adorable and though he looks like a wimpy kid on the outside, he has a lot of heart and an old soul on the inside. Lieberher and Murray have an undeniable chemistry together in this story about unlikely friends with a little bit of a grandfather and grandson feel and dynamic. Even Melissa McCarthy impressed us in this movie. It was nice to see her playing a "straight-woman" character compared to her usually raucous, brash, over-the-top, blowhard roles that she has been typecast into since "Bridesmaids." Without her security blanket, the abruptly rude and dirty coating she typically has had in her recent films, her charm and humor are still able to shine through in this role, but she is much more vulnerable here. We really like this type of role for her and hope her "female Chris Farley" days have passed. Plus, there was not a myriad of fat jokes in this movie, which was also nice to not hear. McCarthy and Murray also have a lot of great scenes together, too, and their relationship is more of a love/hate one formed out of necessity rather than mutual respect.

It might be hard to justify a man who takes a relative stranger's kid gambling and to a bar, teaches him how to fight, and feeds him poorly, but it's all part of the movie's eventual charm. It doesn't have to be or even feel 100% realistic to show an authentic relationship, which we feel like this film does. It also moved through a cycle of emotions from WTF to happy to angry to sad to OH, THE FEELS! all in the span of 102 minutes, and we enjoyed this roller coaster every step of the way. It's hard not to always be impressed by the ever cool Murray.

My Rating: 8.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 74%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!
One year ago, we were watching: "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa"

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