Title – St. Vincent (2014)
Director – Theodore Melfi (Winding Roads)
Cast – Bill Murray, Jaeden Lieberher, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Chris O’Dowd, Terrence Howard
Plot – Oliver (Lieberher) and his newly divorced mum Maggie (McCarthy) move into their new home that happens to be next door to grump old war veteran Vincent (Murray). When Vincent starts to babysit Oliver when Maggie has to work an unlikely friendship begins.
“Why do you always have to do things the hard way?”
Review by Eddie on 5/05/2015
An indie dramedy that plays to every cliché in the book and therefore is held back by its ticking off of the checklist, St. Vincent is made worthy thanks to a hugely entertaining and memorable Bill Murray performance that makes us all remember why we feel in love with the hugely affable grump in the first place.
Murray is a joy to watch as gruff and grizzly Vincent, an old man we at once despise but slowly begin to enjoy as his backstory becomes more apparent. Vincent is a complicated character and Murray delivers one of his most memorable turns as the inwardly troubled and outwardly aggressive old timer. Not since Lost in Translation has Murray delivered such a fully-fledged turn and if the material around him was a little stronger you’d suggest that his Vincent could’ve been a player in the recent awards circuit. Whether Murray is spending up at the races, dancing at his local bar or just generally being Bill Murray, his the absolute star of this rather generic show.
For anyone that’s ever witnessed any film that deals with grumpy old men, coming of age awkwardness or any such indie comedy staples, the narrative of St. Vincent will be predicted from the first 10 minutes onward. It’s a shame that writer/director Theodore Melfi couldn’t come up with some more original ideas for the film and some twee elements like Terrence Howard’s petty crook Zucko and Naomi Watt’s hugely annoying Russian working girl Daka feel like participants in another film. While it’s also nice to see Melissa McCarthy dial down the crazy to deliver a thankfully subdued performance she also doesn’t add much to the film and it’s left to big screen debutant Jaeden Lieberher to provide Murray with an on par acting partner. Lieberher shows some great signs as likeable young lad Oliver and one would suspect he has a decent career ahead of him.
With a breezy soundtrack, a jovial tone and a great Bill Murray turn, St. Vincent is an easy to watch and easy to enjoy little tale that never seeks to flip the rulebook on its head and plays out in a fashion that is entirely as to be expected but in this case doesn’t halt the film from becoming an easy to recommend night in with a movie.
3 dusty patches of lawn out of 5