Sentimental slop, with Bill Murray as a grimy old Brooklyn reprobate giving life lessons to a lonely schoolboy. The script, by first-time writer-director Theodore Melfi, appeared on the fabled “Hollywood Black List,” an annual honor roll of the best unproduced screenplays as chosen by some 300 industry executives. Unfortunately that distinction reveals more about the industry than about Melfi’s screenplay, a terminally trite exercise mining such cheap tear-jerking material as child custody, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke rehabilitation, and heroism in Vietnam. The movie’s sole charm is Chris O’Dowd as a wisecracking priest at the boy’s parish grade school, though his scenes are too few to tip the balance. With Melissa McCarthy, Terrence Howard, and Naomi Watts in an embarrassing comic turn as a pregnant Russian hooker.
PG-13 • 1 hour 43 min • 2014