St Vincent: Movie ReviewCast: Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Jaeden Lieberher, Chris O'Dowd, Terrence Howard
Director: Theodore Melfi
Bill Murray proves to be the big draw card in St Vincent, a story that's been done time and again.
A grouchy and grumpy Murray is Vincent, a hard-drinking, gambling, crank-pot of a man whose life is turned upside down by the arrival of new neighbours in the form of Melissa McCarthy's single mom Maggie and her son Oliver (Lieberher). When Oliver's bullied at school and has his stuff stolen, he ends up having to stay with Vincent while his mom finishes her shift - unamused but seeing there's a chance to make some cash from his neighbour, Vincent takes the kid under his wing - but under his own terms....
Soon, Oliver's learning street smarts and friendship from Vincent while visiting bars and the dog track. However, it's not long before reality comes crashing in.
St Vincent won't win any awards for its screenplay, given that it's not the most original of stories or character arcs. But it's a turn from Murray, who's clearly relishing playing it fast and loose as a cantankerous grouch that makes St Vincent rise above its clearly sentimental gloopy centre.
Melissa McCarthy, Chris O'Dowd and Naomi Watts have all minor roles orbiting Murray's Vietnam vet gone bad, but all turn in solid performances to round out the cast and give the piece some quiet heart and soul.
Equally, newcomer Lieberher holds his own against Murray and proves to be the spot-on foil he needs to offset some of the crankiness on display. But, director Melfi's wise enough not to overplay the sentiment of the part from his child actor when things head into truly predictable territory.
That's the thing with St Vincent - it's an entirely obvious movie (and slightly implausible ending) that proves to be a crowd-pleasing treat thanks in large part to Murray's performance. By charting a course from unlikeable to softening his edges, Murray will help blow out any of the funk you may feel - as well as distract you from any of the predictability you see on the screen.