Written and directed by Theodore Melfi
Starring: Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Jaeden Lieberher, Naomi Watts, Chris O’Dowd
Oliver (Lieberher) and his mom (McCarthy) just moved into the house next door to Vincent (Murray). He’s a crusty old man with no apparent redeeming qualities. As Oliver and Vincent form an unlikely friendship, they begin to learn from one another.
This is a charming and unique film, written and directed by Theodore Melfi (Winding Roads). The movie stars the wonderful and talented Bill Murray (Ghostbusters). The talent doesn’t stop there, with Melissa McCarthy (Life As We Know It), Jaeden Lieberher (Playing It Cool), Naomi Watts (The Impossible), and Chris O’Dowd (Thor: The Dark World) also featured.
This story has a gritty kind of charm found in movies like Juno. The dialogue works nicely in bringing out the comedy, as well as the humanity, within each character. The writing also lets the dialogue remain playful and witty. Thankfully, this dialogue doesn’t dominate the film. The actors have a lot of action to work with in creating their characters in this movie. The pace of the film is slower throughout the first act, but once it gets going it’s a fun ride with little to complain about. The story is not only funny, but it’s also endearing and heartwarming.
The acting in this movie is pretty great. Bill Murray has been a favorite of mine for years. He has a unique brand of physical comedy that works perfectly in this movie. He also seems to bring out the warmth of his role in small doses. These little insights into his role allow the story to work wonderfully. Opposite Murray, Jaeden Lieberher is awesome. This young actor seems to hold his own, even in the more serious moments with the other stars. In addition, he has a quirky side that works nicely in the story.
Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, and Chris O’Dowd are also great additions to this movie. McCarthy has a more tame role than most of her fans might expect. Her performance works perfectly, especially in the moments opposite Murray. Naomi Watts is also really good in this movie. I’m a huge fan of O’Dowd, thanks to his work on Moone Boy. This is another fun performance from him. Overall, great acting from the talented cast.
Like the story, this movie has a unique visual sensibility. The camera work is wonderfully done throughout the entire film. The composition of every scene feels precisely done. Cinematographer John Lindley (Field of Dreams) certainly brought the feeling of this story out with his work. Additionally, the movie features a great selection of songs that work with the moods of the scenes. The original music, by Theodore Shapiro (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty), is also wonderfully done.
This is a unique movie that really makes some unique choices throughout. If you’re a fan of Murray or any of the other stars, you should check this one out. I would also suggest this one to fans of quirky comedies. I give this one 4 out of 5 stars.