St. Vincent (2014)

(Video on Demand, March 2014)  Bill Murray is an international treasure, but he doesn’t star in movies as much as you’d think: He usually holds striking supporting roles, and so St. Vincent is his first lead role in nearly a decade.  What a role it is, though: As an aged Vietnam veteran with serious misanthropy and gambling issues, Murray gets to be a bit more than a cool gag.  When he comes to care for a precocious 12-year-old boy, much of the film’s main dramatic arc becomes predictable… but certainly not the odd subplots and small details of the story.  St. Vincent may play from a generic template, but it has enough originality to carry through, and a certain deftness of execution to make it even more palatable.  Proof can be seen in a restrained and unexpectedly sympathetic Melissa McCarthy, in her best and least annoying role since Bridesmaids.  There’s a solid dramatic underpinning under the laughs and while the result may be too poignant to be purely hilarious, it has a lot of heart, however predictable the ending can be. 

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