ST. VINCENT: REVIEW: In this Ghostbusters spin off, Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) is an old grumpy drunk who begrudgingly befriends a small Jewish boy (Jaeden Lieberher) who goes to Catholic school.

There comes a time in every actor’s career where they decide to go Ratso Rizzo. Mickey Rourke goes Wrestling, Jack Nicholson drives an RV to his daughter’s wedding and Al Pacino becomes a locksmith. Bill Murray plays Vinnie, a grouchy hard drinking loser who is out of money, out of luck and out of patience, his misery occasionally relieved by the ministrations of heavily pregnant Russian prostitute Daka (Naomi Watts). When Melissa McCarthy’s harassed single parent turns up freshly separated with her young son, Vin is recruited to look after the boy. At first he does so unwillingly but soon an unlikely bond blah di blah, and the boy learns that beneath his misanthropic surface Vin is actually blah di blah. Blah di blah comic cameo from Chris O’Dowd, blah di blah Naomi Watts broadly racist Russian prostitute, blah di blah heartwarming Oscars and Golden Globes.

St. Vincent is an overly slick awards garnering machine. All that’s missing is the word ‘Sunshine’ in the title. The plot is so predictable that the title sequence should have SPOILER ALERT written all over it. Every character is layered with feel good sympathy and yet nothing is real. They all have speeches written to be played as clips for prior to awards and each musical cue plays like midway through the trailer. In fact almost any 30 second  moment of Theodore Melfi’s film picked at random could be used in the trailer. It seems so intent on selling itself, selling its characters and being liked it even canonizes its lead on stage in front of an applauding audience. Like a rehearsal for the Oscars.

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