The Good Neighbor
A Film Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
There was so much promise in this film considering I had seen Bill Murray on so many lists for potential Oscar nominations. This shouldn’t be anywhere near Oscars talk. Instead of St. Vincent, this movie might as well be titled A Litany of Contrivances and Annoying Clichés That Are From Other, Better Movies. Okay, maybe that’s a bit too much, but you get the point. What St. Vincent lacks and dies because of is originality. Throughout the running time that thankfully lasts a brief hundred minutes even though it feels much, much longer, the film consistently makes a habit of borrowing from much better films, About a Boy especially.
Bill Murray is good in this, but this is not a performance of his that is going to become a serious Academy contender. The material just isn’t there. Melissa McCarthy is incredibly good in this because the film actually manages to use her dramatic chops. It’s become a running gag almost of using McCarthy’s loud comedy in every film that she does so it’s nice to see her in a role that at least thematically challenges her. Naomi Watts, as wonderful as she is, is completely miscast as a Russian stripper and hooker who, surprise surprise, has a heart of gold. Her accent is completely all over the place and the film gives her nothing unexpected to do. Chris O’Dows, who is absolutely wonderful in basically everything, is great as Oliver’s teacher.
If you like feel good movies, you might enjoy this one considering that I might be just a little bit cold hearted. But there are plenty of films that bring those good feelings and are actually worth watching. Boyhood, for example, is amazing and brings all of that nostalgia with great acting and the unique cinematic experience only it can bring. I honestly would give this movie more praise if it didn’t dig into every single cliché and predictable narrative that exists. From the moment O’Dows says that the class must find their own saint out there in the real world the ending to the movie is so clearly telegraphed it’s just… disappointing. It’s almost hilarious, before you realize that you aren’t laughing.
Title: St. Vincent
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Theodore Melfi
Producers: Fred Roos, Jenno Topping, Peter Chernin, Theodore Melfi
Written by: Theodore Melfi
Starring: Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd, Scott Adsit, Naomi Watts
Music: Theodore Shapiro
Cinematography: John Lindley
Editing: Sarah Flack, Peter Teschner
Production Company: Chernin Entertainment, Crescendo Productions
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Running Time: 103 minutes
Release Dates: October 24, 2014 (United States)
Image Courtesy: Teaser Trailer