ST VINCENT | MOVIE REVIEW

Kernel Andrew reviews ST VINCENT, the new starring Jaeden Lieberher (in his debut), and , directed by Theodore Melfi in his feature movie directorial debut. It is releasing on Boxing Day and looks like a decent family film. ST VINCENT is being released by Roadshow Films into most cinemas throughout the country, is rated M and runs for 102mins – check your local cinemas for times. Now kick back and enjoy Andrew’s review…..all the best…..JK. 

 

ST VINCENT MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
ST VINCENT | SALTY POPCORN | MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY

Who in the World doesn’t like Bill Murray? Certainly not me. I can rattle of a million things I have seen the man do which would make most people smile and nod in appreciation. If the comedy world had a guiding pantheon of saints surely Murray would be one of them

This movie is perhaps the aforementioned Murray at his most crowd pleasing in many respects. ST VINCENT by Theodore Melfi definitely hits all the right notes in terms of tear jerks and crowd pleasing moments. The script has the right doses of sugar and spice to make that possible. I can see this movie being genuinely very popular with the crowds and less so with the critics who can probably rattle off the amount of times they have seen these clichés play out. Indeed there is something very trite about it all. All of life’s conundrums resolved by the end of the hour and a half? Of course they can be. All the t’s crossed and all the i’s dotted. But isn’t it always in these movies?

If you are going to look at cheese (which some people will call), this particular movie is a really hearty and tasty example. There is a lot to love here. Yes you can feel yourself being manipulated by the stereotypical story and feel your heart-strings being reached out for at just the right moments. But roll your eyes and you will miss some truly excellent performances. Just sit back you negative nancies and go along for the ride.

 

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ST VINCENT | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MAGGIE (MELISSA MCCARTHY), OLIVER (JAEDEN LIEBERHER) & VINCENT (BILL MURRAY)

 

Vincent (Bill Murray) is a grumpy old cantankerous letch. He is a hard-drinking, hard-living, rude New Yorker. A man who is content to live by himself in his run down rubbish and dust filled apartment. It gets better in the setup. It seems his only real companionship besides an assorted cast of bar fly’s at his local is a pregnant hooker (Naomi Watts) who he sleeps with on a regular basis (for money of course). He drinks too much at night and spends his days gambling away any money he comes across at the race track. Of course he never wins. The bank is about to foreclose on his house, he has no friends and no savings to speak of. To top it all off he is pretty hateful to nearly everyone around him.

One day after a particularly rough night for Vincent (who falls asleep unconscious on the floor after the usual drinking session) he is awoken by new neighbours. A mother and son have moved in next door. The son is named Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher) and the soon-to-be-divorced Maggie (Melissa McCarthy), the mother. Their meeting instantaneously is confrontational. The movers hit a tree on Vincent’s property and damage his car (along with his fence which actually he reversed into drunkenly the night before). This causes Maggie and Vincent’s first altercation (certainly not their last). By now most should see how this will end up. But forget the generic setup and bare with this particular movie.

 

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ST VINCENT | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | OLIVER (JAEDEN LIEBERHER) & VINCENT (BILL MURRAY)

 

Oliver’s mom has to work long hours at the hospital and with no one to babysit Maggie enters into an agreement with Vincent to have him watch Oliver. It is here that slowly but surely the true dynamic of the picture opens up. It’s all in a very paint by numbers fashion. But the chemistry between Murray and Lieberher is quite infectious. Vincent takes Oliver to the bar, the horsetrack and introduces him to his lady of the night (a profession which Vincent quips to Oliver is perhaps the most honourable). Along the way Vincent helps Oliver grow, deal with school bullies and Oliver helps Vincent begin to enjoy life again.

It’s pretty standard stuff really. It’s trite and has definitely been done a hundred times over. We even have two stereotypical bit parts the caricatures of the funny Catholic teacher (Chris O’Dowd) and a bookie that Vincent owes money too (). With all the performances O’Dowd is excellent (as he usually is) and Howard plays the role with enough menace even though all too briefly as to be non-existent. Even with all of these clichés I found myself sucked in by the simple charms of this tale by the fine acting performances from all mentioned. When the movie hit the “Vincent actually has hidden depths trope standard for this kind of fair” I still felt myself moving along with it.

 

ST VINCENT MOVIE IMAGE
ST VINCENT | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | OLIVER (JAEDEN LIEBERHER) & VINCENT (BILL MURRAY)

 

Ignore all of that. The heart of this picture is Murray and Lieberher. They have a natural chemistry which anchors the picture. It is not forced and feels very fresh and free. Murray is as always hilarious. At the same time he has a natural gravitas that he seems to bring with a snap of his fingers. Lieberher plays his part well. He has honesty to his performance and the right amount of playful innocence. It works very well with Murrays beats.

None of its production values are particularly noteworthy but there is enough in this movie to definately make it a satisfying watch. The cast is the highlight as I have said before. Murray in a starring role is rare enough nowadays that all opportunities to see this great actor work should be savoured. It’s good to see McCarthy play a different role to the over the top roles we are used to of late. She is solid, if on the screen too briefly. Even Watts finds beats in her admittedly ridiculous character that connect.

I was entertained and touched and isn’t that all we want from this kind of fair?

 

3 and a Half Pops