Bill Murray’s film career has taken many turns recently to the point where he’s won critical acclaim for his roles. St. Vincent is a comedy that says to the film going public who love Meatballs and Groundhog Day that he can still dominant a screen for easy comedy.
Murray plays the titular character, a sarcastic, grumpy man who is far removed from sainthood. Vincent is the neighbour who begrudgingly agrees to look after the young boy next door. He agrees for 12 bucks an hour when his mom’s working in the hospital.
The writer – director Theodore Melfi is a new director who isn’t trying to change anything with formula comedy. Bill Murray is in total control of this film alongside a solid supporting cast. Naomi Watts and Terence Howard show up in roles that if played by other actors, audiences probably wouldn’t care too much. The very fact that it has this cast and not another one means that we take greater interest of the characters and how they interfere with Vincent’s life.
Vincent is broke, scornful, bitter and his attitude shows us nothing to like about him. One wonders, does he leave his unmaintained home? When he does leave its to the pub or the tracks.
He tragically meets his new neighbours when the moving van crashes into his fence and car. Maggie played by Melissa McCarthy and Oliver her only son understand straight away with the type of person their neighbor is to them. Vincent agrees to babysit her son Oliver and is convenient for Maggie with having a cheap babysitter. Vincent however is still antisocial and isolated with whomever is around him.
The film follows and proceeds as expected with Vincent and Oliver becoming better friends. Vincent won’t admit that and Oliver learns the world through Vincent’s eyes and inappropriate behaviors. We do ultimately discover why Vincent is bitter at life, and the façade he shows has a genuine reason.
The movie elevates itself from other comedies based on the performance of the cast. McCarthy plays a subdued yet determined mother. Lieberher is well grounded in the young nerd who gets teased at school. Howard fits well in the small scenes he has as the bookie while Naomi Watts plays Murray’s Russian lady of the night friend as expected.
No doubt this is a Bill Murray show and he rises above the formula comedy, the loose script and gives you a satisfying watch.
Bill Murray as Vincent
Jaceden Lieberher as Oliver
Melissa McCarthy as Maggie
Terence Howard as Zucko
Naomi Watts as Daka