St. Vincent ***

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“St. Vincent” is one of those comedies about people who exist on the fringe of society. Bill Murray stars as Vincent, an aging low life who smokes, curses, gambles and sleeps with prostitutes. He reminded me a bit of Willy in “Bad Santa”. Vincent does have a few soft spots he keeps hidden but Murray is more or less never shows his cards. Melissa McCarthy also stars as a struggling single mother who lives next door who employs Vincent as a baby sitter. This is McCarthy’s best performance since “Bridesmaids”.

Movies like this really depend on the performances of the actress’ and actors. Murray is great at playing grumpy and sort of vile but he is most effective when he starts to care and when we see him tending to his wife who is in a nursing home and doesn’t remember who he is.

McCarthy has been stuck getting comedic roles that require her to be as obnoxious as possible. This is a shame because she is so much better playing real people with real intelligence. Here she plays a woman who is dealing with divorce, working too much and still trying to raise a son.

The writer and director Theodore Melfi, who I am not fully familiar with but on the basis of this movie he does have an ear for authentic dialogue. He also gives the actors the proper screen time to really develop their characters. The film does sort of contain some sentimental moments and a few clichés but I was able to over look that because the authentic parts were just so good.

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