Written by The Kendog   
Thursday, 06 November 2014 12:10







Howdy folks! It’s The Kendog!




It’s always nice to see established stars stretch their muscles from an acting standpoint. Bill Murray has been taking offbeat roles for years in a mostly successful effort to distance himself from the crazy comic actor persona he cultivated early in his career. Melissa McCarthy, however, is in danger of becoming typecast as the “overweight crazy chick who can’t run.” Movies like TAMMY and IDENTITY THIEF threaten to undermine her massive comic talent. So to say that McCarthy’s turn in the excellent ST VINCENT is a breath of fresh air is an understatement. In fact, it’s the performances by McCarthy, Murray, and the entire cast that elevate ST VINCENT from a by the numbers drama to something special!





ST VINCENT involves the tale of Vincent (the excellent Bill Murray), a man of late middle age who ekes out an existence involving a tapped out reverse mortgage, a heavy drinking problem, and a gambling addiction that’s getting him in deeper and deeper with the bookies (represented with charming menace by Terence Howard.). His irascible nature hides a personal pain involving his past and he seems good with that until Maggie and Oliver show up. Maggie (McCarthy) is a single mother escaping a failed marriage and Oliver (the excellent Jaeden Lieberher) is a smart but physically underdeveloped young man. Maggie has to work late at her new job at the hospital, necessitating a need for a baby sitter.

Enter Vincent.





What happens next is a series of dramatic and comic events that deal with personal growth involving every character from Vincent to Oliver to Maggie. Even the boy who initially bullies Oliver at his new school gets a better character arc than most secondary characters in movies like this. To reveal more of the narrative would be doing you a grave disservice but I will stay that although the destination isn’t difficult to see, the journey more than makes up for any predictability in the narrative.




Writer/director Theodore Melfi knows what type of cast he has and he lets everyone run with the ball. Murray is excellent here, with a combination of humor and heartfelt emotion that is as honest as anything he’s ever done. Don’t let the trailers fool you: this is not a cartoony performance and I would not be surprised if Murray ends up with a well-deserved Oscar nod.   McCarthy is equally impressive here, giving Maggie a grounded sense of humor along with a terrific dramatic performance that will hopefully open more doors for her in the future.




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Jaeden Lieberher has terrific chemistry with Murray and their scenes together are among the best in the film. It’s a tough load to carry for such a young actor, but Lieberher does a fantastic job. Also terrific are Chris O’Dowd as Oliver’s principal high school teacher and Naomi Watts as a Russian prostitute carrying Vincent’s child.







ST VINCENT is a film that feels like it’s populated by real people rather than actors playing roles. It makes for a rewarding and heartfelt dramatic experience that is unlike almost anything I’ve seen this year. ST VINCENT is a wonderful movie that deserves to be seen multiple times. SO SAYETH THE KENDOG!



ST VINCENT is Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material including sexual content, alcohol and tobacco use, and for language.


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