St. Vincent has a lot of positive things going for it but originality is not one of them. Rather it’s built on the popular cliché of the curmudgeon next-door turning out to be a good guy despite his rough exterior. (I also predicted how it was going to end by the trailer alone.) Oh, and did I mention that at times it can be maudlin? Still, St. Vincent does have a lot of things going for it that makes it worth watching: namely, the outstanding performances by the cast, including Bill Murray as the title character, Vincent.
Imagine an R-rated version of Dennis the Menace’s Mr. Wilson with a gambling habit, a fondness for booze and the services of a Russian stripper who turns tricks on the side, and you have a pretty good idea of who Vincent is. However, when a newly single mother (played wonderfully by Melissa McCarthy) and her son, Oliver, move next door and he offers to become his after school babysitter in order to earn some extra cash, the audience starts to see another, more human side to Vincent including his dedication to his dementia-afflicted wife whom he struggles to keep in a high end nursing home.
While the movie often slides towards sentimentality, Murray is such a joy to watch that the viewer can easily forgive that. Murray is a total natural here and this is arguably his best work since his performance in Sophia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation.” Like it, Murray shows he has good chemistry with much younger co-stars and he and newcomer Jaeden Lieberhern in the breakout role as Oliver are excellent together. While St. Vincent isn’t great, it is worth seeing. Much like the protagonist, it has its flaws but the good outweighs the bad.