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Monday, February 16, 2015

'St. Vincent' DVD/BD/VOD: A Trust Grows in Brooklyn

Product Details
The February 17, 2015 Anchor Bay Entertainment and The Weinstein Company DVD/BD/VOD release of the 2014 Bill Murray/Melissa McCarthy dramedy "St. Vincent" nicely comes a few days after the television celebration of the 40th Anniversary of "Saturday Night Live" (SNL). One can easily imagine a trademark quirky Bill Murray character (or even Peter Venkman of "Ghostbusters") becoming the not-so-lovable grumpy old man Vincent MacKenna whom Murray plays in the film.

Another interesting coincidence is that rumor has it that McCarthy is slated to star in an upcoming female cast version of "Ghostbusters." On a related note, seeing McCarthy offer an under-stated down-to-earth performance in contrast to her typical over-the-top portrayals the past few years is very nice. She is very believable as a recently divorced middle-class working mom who is facing all the challenges that go along with those characteristics.

The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of the theatrical trailer for "Vincent" does a good job laying out the basic plot and providing a sense of the characters.

The very "About a Boy" plot of "Vincent" has McCarthy's Maggie and her awkward 12 year-old son Oliver move in next door to Vincent. Our adult leads predictably clash on first meeting, and Oliver soon needing the aid of Vincent is equally easily anticipated.

The boys steal the show as Vincent increasingly tolerates his new young charge as said lad essentially requests "please Sir; may I have some more." At the same time, Vincent does not undergo a dramatic personality change.

Naomi Watts comes into the picture as pregnant Eastern European prostitute/pole dancer Daka. Although her relationship with Vincent is professional, they develop a father-daughter bond that is very creepy if you think about it even a little.

Cute moments between Vincent and Oliver include a memorable afternoon at the horse track and a car ride scene in which the subversive humor side of Murray breaks through the more indie film dramatic persona that he has developed over roughly the past decade. This contrast is akin to the difference between folks who think of Angela Lansbury as the movie star from her youth and those who remember her much different comeback role in the television series "Murder. She Wrote."

Similar to all this, the portrayal by Chris O'Dowd of a priest who teaches at the Catholic school that Oliver attends is far different than O'Dowd's hilarious performance on the Britcom "The IT Crowd." However, like Murray, O'Dowd briefly returns to his roots in a scene that involves a classroom discussion of the religious beliefs of his students.

The manner in which Vincent and Oliver influence the other and in which the latter better understands the reasons for the former not being the type of grandpa who tells jokes and regularly takes you for ice cream is nicely spread out over several weeks. Further, there is no grand Hollywood-style epiphany that changes everything with the exception of a medical emergency that arguably is introduced as a catalyst.

The title of the film refers to a not-so-predictable class assignment with a highly predictable outcome. This task requires that the students select someone whom they believe possess the qualities of a saint and write an essay that supports that conclusion. The extent to which Oliver shows that Vincent qualifies for this honor is a nice surprise that shows that people really do not know the curmudgeon next door.

On a larger level, "Vincent" offers a semi-realistic view of the dystopia that is a fact of modern life. No one is happy or thriving and most personal interaction is adversarial, but the few people who offer each other mutual support help each other contend with these challenges.

The special features include a segment on Murray and a separate extra with deleted scenes from the film.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Vincent" is welcome to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.