St. Vincent, film review: Bill Murray gives a wonderfully bad-tempered performance in this sweet and sour comedy

(12A) Theodore Melfi, 102 mins Starring: Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts

Geoffrey Macnab
Friday 05 December 2014 00:15
Melissa McCarthy, Jaeden Lieberher and Naomi Watts in 'St. Vincent'
Melissa McCarthy, Jaeden Lieberher and Naomi Watts in 'St. Vincent'

The writer-director Ted Melfi's comedy provides a perfect platform for Bill Murray. He plays Vincent MacKenna, a curmudgeonly Vietnam war veteran who, in the early scenes, looks as if he has stumbled out of some Charles Bukowski story.

He is a hard-drinking, hard-gambling misanthrope who has a Russian prostitute (Naomi Watts) as a girlfriend and feuds continually with his next-door neighbour, single mom Melissa McCarthy. Inevitably, once he takes on babysitting duties for the neighbour's doe-eyed son, we begin to see him in quite a different light.

The film is an intriguing blend of sweet (its manipulative, unashamedly mawkish storyline) and sour (Murray's wonderfully bad-tempered performance). Make sure you stay for the final credits, during which we see Murray mug away in gloriously idiosyncratic fashion to Bob Dylan's "Shelter from the Storm" while fiddling with a garden hose.

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