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By Dustin Heller

(Oct. 24, 2014) – St. Vincent is the new comedy-drama film starring Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy. Written and directed by Ted Melfi, this marks his feature film debut. The film just recently won second runner up as “People’s Choice Award for Best Film” at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival where it premiered. The film co-stars Naomi Watts, Chris O’Dowd, Scott Adsit, and youngster Jaeden Lieberher.

Vincent (Murray), an obsessive gambler and drinker, has fallen on hard times and needs money in a bad way. Luckily for him, Maggie (McCarthy) and her son Oliver (Lieberher) have just moved in next door. Maggie is recently divorced and is forced to work long hours at her new job, so she asks Vincent if he could watch Oliver after school.

Vincent begrudgingly accepts the offer, but likes having the steady income. From there, a different sort of friendship begins as Oliver tags along with Vincent as he makes his rounds about town. Whether it’s to the racetrack or the local bar, Oliver is right by his side. When things take a turn for the worse, Vincent gets to see what true friendship looks like.

Without knowing any better, you’d think a movie starring Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy would be a real knee slapper. That’s definitely not the case with St. Vincent. Granted, it does have some humor, but this is definitely a heartfelt drama. There is a lot to like about this movie, although it is quite clichéd, but I had a difficult time with Bill Murray’s character.

Murray’s performance is excellent in the movie, but he plays a very unlikable character which does match his real-life or professional persona. I’ve been following his career for over three decades now and I can’t remember another time where I didn’t love the character he was playing, so this was difficult for me to get past. Even during his moment of redemption, he was still a jerk.

I was happy to see Melissa McCarthy step a little outside of her comfort zone here. She turns in a very good and believable dramatic performance. The story seems a bit redundant at times and drags on a little too much towards the end, but overall it is an entertaining movie. Although, St. Vincent didn’t leave a huge impression on me, it would make for a good date night movie.

Grade: B