Vincent (Bill Murray) seemingly hates everything but alcohol and his weekly sessions with sex worker Daka (Naomi Watts). But he also needs money and when newly single mom Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) moves in next door, desperately in need of help with her son Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher), Vincent offerst to babysit Oliver in the time between end of Oliver’s school and end of Maggie’s job. As Oliver soon discovers, there is more to Vincent, though, than meets the eye.
St. Vincent is nice, but ultimately completely inconsequential, brings nothing new to the table and, apart from the parts that annoyed me, I’ll probably forget it as soon as I finish this review.
St. Vincent is yet another film about a grumpy old man and his redemption, at the cost of pretty much everyone else in the film (The Homesman is another recent example), only with the twist that Vincent doesn’t atually go through any character development, but the audience (and Oliver) discover the good things that lie beneath Vincent’s abrasive exterior and he is redeemed by uncovering instead of developing.
But that is exactly what makes the film the most frustrating experience. Because it means that at the end of the film, Vincent is still an irresponsible asshole – but he also takes care of his wife, fought heroically in a war and teaches Oliver what it means to be a man (which involves hitting, of course), so we are supposed to love him.
The film’s saving grace are Melissa McCarthy, who I like best when she isn’t reduced to comedy but gets to show her dramatic side as well, and Chris O’Dowd, who can do practically no wrong in my eyes. Naomi Watts isn’t bad either, but her character is generally problematic and there is nothing she can do about that. Bill Murray phones it in and Jaeden Lieberher obviously is good at learnign lines, but less good at making them feel natural (but then again, he is the stereotypical movie child, a little adult trapped in a young body – nothing will make that natural).
I found myself extremely annoyed by the film, and I didn’t even expect very much – just a nice time. And I didn’t even get that.