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30 Oct 2014

An Acting Clinic: Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy Are Fantastic in 'St. Vincent'

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Jaeden Lieberher and Bill Murray in St. Vincent. Jaeden Lieberher and Bill Murray in St. Vincent.

In St. Vincent, Vincent (Bill Murray), a reclusive, crotchety old guy, reluctantly finds himself interacting with his new neighbor, Maggie (Melissa McCarthy), and her son, Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher), after her movers break his fence, tree and car.

Vincent eventually winds up baby-sitting Oliver, which leads to them bonding inside bars and hanging out with a “lady of the night” (Naomi Watts)—much to the eventual chagrin of Maggie.

Murray and Lieberher are great together, which allows one to forgive the sometimes-schmaltzy direction and writing from Theodore Melfi. Vincent is the meatiest role Murray has gotten in almost a decade, and it’s exciting to see him firing on all cylinders.

I’ve complained about the fact that McCarthy seems to far too often get stuck in insulting slapstick roles. This movie gives her a chance to show off the fact that she can really act, and she makes the most of it.

Lieberher is one of those child actors who seems like he’s been acting for 30 years, well beyond the amount of time he has spent on this Earth. Watts takes the pregnant Russian prostitute role and runs with it, getting some good laughs through a wildly overdone accent. The actors put this one over the top with their performances.

St. Vincentis playing at theaters across the valley.

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