COMEDY; 1hr 42min
STARRING: Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Jaeden Lieberher
Dude, reclining: Murray and Lieberher
The state of play for Vincent MacKenna (Murray) is painfully apparent before first-time writer-director Theodore Melfi’s opening credits are done: he’s a down-at-heel, fiscally challenged drunk with a flashy taste in women — enter Watts, all sass and sashay, as pregnant stripper Daka. He also has two new neighbours in recently single mother Maggie (McCarthy) and her 12-year-old son, Oliver (Lieberher), which brings no joy to anybody at the start. But cat-scan tech Maggie has no other options for Oliver’s after-school care, and Vincent snaps up the gig, crocodile-style, for a fee.
It doesn’t take a Masters in Movie Arcs to see where these guys are going. Begrudgingly, Vincent takes Oliver to the track and to his local Brooklyn bar. In the course of their ramshackle coupling, other truths become clear. Oliver is a resourceful and remarkably together little boy, and Vincent’s Alzheimer-afflicted wife (Donna Mitchell) is in a home. (He takes Oliver there, too.) Vincent may be, as Oliver bluntly informs him, “a drunk, mean old man.” But since he’s played by Bill Murray, who wears grouchy-soulful — and everyday sainthood candidacy, come to that — like worn-in slippers, his rosy vindication is only a matter of time.