St. Vincent

Rated NR 2014

St. Vincent takes place in a world where Naomi Watts is funnier than Melissa McCarthy, which should be enough of a warning that this dramatic comedy doesn’t quite have all its issues worked out. Bill Murray (not on that train, sorry) cribs from Bad Santa-era Billy Bob Thornton and sands the edges off like Bad News Bears-era Billy Bob Thornton as the titular Vincent (the St. is ironic, doye), a drunk gambler with a cool cat and a sick wife to provide the heart. When newly divorced McCarthy moves in next door, he begrudgingly ends up with a regular babysitting gig for her sweet, sensitive son Oliver (introducing Jaeden Lieberher in an assured, Macaulay Culkin-in-Home Alone-quality performance). Watts is the pregnant Russian prostitute with a heart of gold (that old story) who jacks all of the best lines. McCarthy plays it real straight in a complete waste of her talents (stop listening to people who say you need to avoid typecasting, Sookie)—if she and Murray had any improv sparring matches, they were edited out. Despite all this, St. Vincent is both enjoyable and tear-making—it’s a terrific debut for Lieberher—even though you really, really know better. —Tara Thorne


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