St. Vincent is a clever indie comedy that isn’t getting much attention. That’s a shame, because it’s fun to see Bill Murray back in full funny form.
The premise is this. Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) has just moved to Brooklyn with her 12-year-old son Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher). Like most single moms, Maggie has to work long hours to support her kid. With no babysitter or family around, she’s forced to rely on her neighbor, Vincent (Bill Murray) to keep an eye on him. While Vincent’s love of gambling and booze hardly make him the ideal babysitter, the two quickly bond. As Vincent drags Oliver through his daily routine, with the help of pregnant stripper Daka (Naomi Watts) Oliver finds a father figure in the misunderstood Vincent.
One thing I like is the character development. The whole single mom depending on manly neighbor has been done before, but Vincent is different. He’s not a lonely, grumpy old man. Instead, he’s a hard partying certified bad ass living the life of a hedonist. While the female characters could have been clichés (frazzled single mom and stripper with a heart of gold) the power of the actresses in the roll redeemed what could have been one dimensional characters.
It’s awesome to see Bill Murray back in a funny form again. I haven’t seen him this funny since the 80s. While his whole redemption might have been vomit worthy sap, Murray offers enough comic relief that it doesn’t come off as yet another movie about a man being redeemed by the innocence of a child.
McCarthy was pretty much wasted in the role. Her gift for comedy goes largely unused throughout the entire film. While she does bring a sweet vulnerability to the character, I feel like they could have given more depth to her character. I’m not sure why they would spend the money to get Melissa McCarthy if they weren’t going to use her.
Watts was equally good as Daka, Vincent’s occasional fling. While she was a bit too cartoonish playing the Russian prostitute/stripper, she still shined in the role and gave me a few laugh out loud moments.
The script is good, the dialog punchy and they managed to avoid getting overly sentimental or sappy with the direction of the movie. The comedy is well balanced with the more emotional scenes and the pacing is good.
For the story, the run time of 1 hour and 43 minutes is a bit lengthy. I mean, there’s not a huge story here. It’s mainly the story of a debauched man being redeemed by a child’s innocence. I felt like it could have been at least 20 minutes shorter.
Some things didn’t work for me, especially with McCarthy’s character. This is a woman who’s not getting child support, and working long hours to support her family because she wants Oliver in the best possible school. In order to do that, she needs him to be babysat by a man who is possibly the worst influence in the world? I feel like they were trying to find a way to force McCarthy to be desperate, when all they really had to do was say she’s a single mother living in New York. We didn’t need the addition of an incredibly expensive private school to explain that.
This is a good movie that will remind you bit of Bill Murray in his heyday. While the female leads could have been more fleshed out, it’s still a fun, sweet flick and definitely worth the watch.
WE GAVE IT: 4 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!