Starring: Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Chris O’Dowd, Terrence Howard, Jaeden Lieberher, Dario Barosso
Directed By: Theodore Melfi
Written By: Theodore Melfi
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 1 hr 42 min
I didn’t really enjoy this film, but let’s see if I can’t articulate that sentiment a little more accurately. For me, St. Vincent felt like being in an abusive relationship, but in this scenario, I’m the long-suffering fan of Bill Murray looking for something special, and he’s just sitting on his lawn chair drinking whiskey, smoking a cigarette, and calling me an asshole!
Sporadically, there were signs of life in Murray’s performance. An occasional touching scene with a loved one at a nursing home, and some of the interactions with the young boy he babysits, Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher), had their moments. But, on the whole, I found his performance too mean spirited. So later, when the movie asks the audience to understand this character’s situation and back story, and maybe give him a pass on his behavior and show some compassion, I personally found I wasn’t all that interested in doing that. It’s like this film wanted you to see the rainbow, during the worst part of the storm.
I also had a hard time with some of the supporting characters in the story. Melissa McCarthy cast as the mother, and long-suffering neighbor to Mr Vincent, was a huge waste of talent. One of the funniest women working in Hollywood today, playing straight to Bill Murray’s mean-spirited gambling drunk? Not a great casting decision in my opinion. And Naomi Watts as a Russian stripper/prostitute? Why did she have to be Russian? What on Earth was that supposed to bring to the story? Other than a dodgy accent.
On the positive side of things, I did enjoy Jaeden Lieberher’s performance as Oliver, and he certainly hold’s his own amongst the older more experienced cast. His interactions with Mr. Murray were the best moments in the film, and I also enjoyed his scenes with the school bully/best friend Ocinski (Dario Barosso).
Your enjoyment of this movie is really going to depend on how you respond to Bill Murray’s performance. I found his take on this character too nasty to find endearing in any way, but maybe you won’t. If you can emotionally invest in this character, there’s a good chance you’ll love this movie. The movie is rated PG-13, but I was surprised it wasn’t rated R due to the film’s adult content and language.
This isn’t an especially visual film, and can be enjoyed alone, or with friends on a TV, laptop, tablet or phone.
Best Moment: << mild spoiler >>
Everyone enjoys those scenes in movies where the bully gets his or her comeuppance. When Oliver decides to use some of his ‘Vincent’ training on the chief tormentor at school, the results are impressive!