St. Vincent
PG-13
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: -4

Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Jaeden Lieberher.

FILM SYNOPSIS: A young boy whose parents just divorced finds an unlikely friend and mentor in the misanthropic, bawdy, hedonistic war veteran who lives next door.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Humorous, sometimes touching (or sappy, depending on your mood), with nice performances from all, St. Vincent is a dark comedy, heavy on the edgy (some crudity, inappropriateness, and cynicism), and full of ripe performances (McCarthy is subdued, Watts hysterical, young newcomer Jaeden Lieberher believable/never cutesy, and Murray as good as funnymen get). Alas, its filmmakers continue to embrace the philosophy that a movie comedy must be built on crudity and offensive content.

Itís evidently still humorous to movie audiences to see kids in inappropriate situations and major stars act like grumpy slobs, and evidently too difficult for filmmakers to seek humor in places other than the bathroom. And while it is played for laughs, at the end of the film the protagonist has reason to be grateful, but when given the opportunity to pray over a Thanksgiving meal, he hesitates then begs off, saying he better not.

By showing this wounded man coming out of his cynical shell, it sends the message that we are not meant to be an island, that there is value in people around us, and we should look to them. Who knows, maybe St. Vincent sends the message that there are those of interest in the world beyond the ones we miniaturize into iPhones.

Along with my religious convictions against the filmís content, I find the crudity limited artistically. Art shouldnít just show us as we are, but as what we can become. And filmmakers have done crudity to death.

That said, Bill Murray is an American comic treasure (he should have won the Oscar for Lost in Translation). He doesnít just touch the funny bone, he pricks our consciousness. Much of his screen humor ridicules the glorifying of oneself and redirects us to the cultivation of relationships with all those around us.

DVD Alternative: Groundhog Day. Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell. A cynical weathercaster finds himself waking up each morning having to relive the same day. Rated PG (some surreal violence and two implied sexual situations, but our hero learns life lessons, including the fact that promiscuous sex does not lead to happiness). A very funny modern-day parable with Murray at his best. An intelligent script full of pathos, humor, and character development. And not one profane word in the whole production (extremely rare).

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Chernin Entertainment

Summary
Crude Language: Some crudity, both from the lead and from several kids.
Obscene Language: Around 20 obscenities, mostly the s-word spoken by adults and children.
Profanity: Godís name was profaned once and Jesusí name was also misused.
Violence: Bullied by a kid at school, a boy finally defends himself by punching the brat out; later they become friends.
Sexual Intercourse: One graphic sex scene; the lead has a sexual relationship with a pregnant, pole-dancing hooker; she is a main character in the film.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: The lead is a heavy smoker and drinker.
Other: The lead has a stroke, but recovers; his mentally ill wife dies.
Running Time: 102 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and up

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