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Manipulative, melodramatic, simultaneously marvelous; a film that delivers warm, fuzzy, chuckling, satisfying fun; Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Jaeden Lieberher, Naomi Watts give performances worthy of writer/director Ted Melfi’s semi-autobiographical story.

“Vince” (Murray) a broke, curmudgeonly boozer is hired by his new neighbor “Maggie” (McCarthy) to babysit (for 11 dollars an hour) her twelve-year-old son “Oliver” (enchanting characterization by Lieberher); Vince incorporates Oliver into his daily regiment: nursing home, racetrack, bars and boxing lessons to strengthen his puny, bullied charge.

Naomi Watts “Daka”a pregnant Russian stripper, Vince’s friend; Watts, since her role in “Mulholland Drive” has been a force, exponentially rising with every film; her Russian accent is superbly perfect. Daka “a lady of the night” is a pragmatist and as tough with her “fees” as Vince is with his; a simmering relationship peppered with honey and vinegar.

Bill Murray is an anomaly in the entertainment world: he does not have an agent, but has an 800 number and a lawyer; highly selective, independent; with astute prescience he has chartered his career choices, owns with confidence, and in this case insouciant charm, all personages he inhabits; Murray, like “St. Vincent” is a modern day hero/saint, flawed but highly gifted and good.

THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!


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