Maggie (McCarthy), a single mother, moves into a new home in Brooklyn with her 12-year old son, Oliver (Lieberher). Forced to work long hours, she has no choice but to leave Oliver in the care of their new neighbor, Vincent (Murray), a retired curmudgeon with a penchant for alcohol and gambling. An odd friendship soon blossoms between the improbable pair. Together with a pregnant stripper named Daka (Watts), Vincent brings Oliver along on all the stops that make up his daily routine – the race track, a strip club, and the local dive bar. Vincent helps Oliver grow to become a man, while Oliver begins to see in Vincent something that no one else is able to: a misunderstood man with a good heart. (C) Weinstein
Bill Murray was extraordinary and unpredictable in the role of Vincent. It is challenging to balance both comedy and drama in what is a dramedy. Mr. Murray’s talent allowed him to succeed in doing this. No one else could’ve been better in this role. He is the anchor of St. Vincent and the movie isn’t as good when he isn’t on screen. Jaeden Lieberher as Oliver was a pretty good as a child actor in St. Vincent. He co-leads the movie with Murray and they work well together. Their chemistry was believable. Melissa McCarthy was a refreshing change of pace moving away from the female Chris Farley shtick that would hinder her career. Please stick to more of these roles. How refreshing! I also like Chris O’Dowd as a Catholic priest and Jaeden’s religion teacher is the polar opposite of his role in Calvary. If there was a performance I didn’t care for it was Naomi Watts the Russian prostitute Daka. A good supporting performance is when you want to know what the character is up to when they aren’t on screen. A bad performance makes viewers want to unintentionally laugh or are eager to see them go away. Naomi Watts performance was awkward in St. Vincent. If Bill Murray is worthy of an Oscar nomination, Naomi Watts could be eligible for a Razzie. Wouldn’t that be something if that came to fruition during awards season!
And maybe this sums up the unevenness of St. Vincent. Sometimes it is crude while other times sweet. Sometimes the quality rises above the cliché. Despite the mixed feelings, I did appreciate the meekness and humble tone of St. Vincent. With a lot of cynicism out there in movies, I was relieved that Murray plays an imperfect character with a heart of gold. It fits the saintly attitude that the movie conveys at the end. It gets sentimental especially toward the end. This will cause a negative reaction among cynical audiences. People who love Bill Murray’s dry and dark humor could be turned off by it. There were some great, hilarious one-liners that had the audience howling though. St. Vincent is marginally good, but Bill Murray makes it stand out and those weaker moments more bearable.
I rate St. Vincent a 6.5 out of 10.