A cantankerous, cash-strapped, loose-living retiree (Bill Murray) becomes a spectacularly unlikely role model for his twelve-year-old neighbour, in this delightful comedy co-starring Melissa McCarthy, Chris O'Dowd, Terrence Howard and Naomi Watts.
The feature debut from writer-director Theodore Melfi finds Bill Murray at his cantankerous best. Playing a cash-strapped retiree with a taste for liquor, loose women, and laying bets at the local horse track, he's a singularly unlikely role model for an impressionable youth. But that's precisely what he becomes in St. Vincent.
It's putting it mildly to call Vincent (Murray) a prickly character. A solitary Vietnam War veteran with a withering temper, he's less than pleased to see Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) move into the vacant house next door with her twelve-year-old son Oliver (newcomer Jaeden Lieberher). Desperate times call for desperate measures, however, and when Vincent's bank account bottoms out, he approaches Maggie about minding her boy during her late-night nursing shifts. Maggie reluctantly agrees, and soon Oliver is on the receiving end of an uproarious miseducation. Yet Vincent's unorthodox tutelage also yields a tender and mutually beneficial friendship reminiscent of Murray's unforgettable pairing with Jason Schwartzman in Rushmore.
On the strength of his much-buzzed-about screenplay, Melfi has assembled a cast the likes of which first-time filmmakers can typically only dream. In addition to Murray and McCarthy, St. Vincent stars Chris O'Dowd and Terrence Howard, as well as Naomi Watts as a pregnant Russian prostitute. Her wonderfully over-the-top turn is the sort of performance one might label a "scene-stealer." But with Murray in this sort of form, there's no doubt as to who's running the show.