Don’t let the trailer’s promise of mirth fool you. Other than a need on Bill Murray’s part to finance a boat or pay off a bookie, there is no excuse for an actor of his caliber to dignify something as fraudulent and artificially sweetened as this vastly inferior riff on Bad Grandpa. BM stars as the titular degenerate, whose gambling debt – compounded by a guilt-stricken need to house his mentally deteriorating wife in a costly clinic – leaves him no other recourse than to earn cash on the side babysitting the neighbor kid (Jaeden Lieberher). The little Culkin steals every scene, granting Murray ample room to strain for Chaplinesque pathos when all he can muster is unrendered schmaltz. Naomi Watts, on board as Vincent’s pregnant prostitute love interest, honed her Russian accent by watching Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons. Newcomer Theodore Melfi directs. With Melissa McCarthy — for once, the least of our worries. (2014) — Scott Marks
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