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(via TIFF 2014, Day Two: “St. Vincent” | Festivals & Awards | Roger Ebert)
However, what is especially nice about “St. Vincent” is that it feels lived-in and its characters seem like they could actually exist (in fact, Melfi revealed that [Bill] Murray’s ill-tempered scoundrel is based on own father-in-law).
You could believe that [Melissa] McCarthy’s desperate soon-to-be-single mom might entrust her only child to wayward Vin’s potentially psyche-warping care. Or that Aussie native [Naomi] Watts is a no-nonsense pregnant Russian stripper (her bulging-belly gyrations need to be seen) as well as Vin’s weekly “lady of the night.” Her dynamite Daka and Kate Mulgrew’s wily Red from “Orange Is the New Black” could make a beautiful buddy comedy together. And [Chris] O’Dowd does Barry Fitzgerald and his black-frocked proud by picking up the slack in wisecracking Irish Catholic priests in recent movie comedies.
But it all depends on the deadpan chemistry between rascally Vin and wee Oliver (with an assist from Vin’s adorable Persian cat, whose face is like a smooshed-in pumpkin). I am happy to report that Murray has found one of his best playmates since he and Ms. Scarlett made the rounds in Tokyo during “Lost in Translation” in young Mr. Lieberher, as they share questionable after-school pursuits. That the audience broke out in applause over Vin’s aggressive mode of intervention after Oliver is set upon by a trio of bullies proves that his mom wasn’t so wrong in her babysitter choice.
This is one of the best kinds of Murray showcases, one that allows the 63-year-old actor room to do his funny stuff, do a little dance and sing a closing credits song and–even more impressively–get a chance to reveal by the final third of “St. Vincent” that he is also a fine dramatic performer, too. All I know is that I am itching to try out his response to a telemarketer–“Come on, coward! Try to sell me something!”–just to see what happens.