Robbie K coming back at you with yet another review, this time diverging from the blockbuster for something a little more down to earth. This review’s topic is on none other than St. Vincent, the latest Bill Murray installment in his long list of movies. For those who haven’t read it’s genre classification it is a comedy. However, since comedy can mean about a hundred different things these days, you might wonder what this film has in store. Well with the assistance of my buddy, I go back into the trenches of the movie theater to bring you the 411 on St. Vincent. Let’s get started.
If you haven’t seen the trailers, St. Vincent is about a bum named Vincent, who doesn’t seem to have a lot going on. As always though, fate has a way of changing things up, when a little boy named Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher) and his mother Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) move into town. Oliver is a bit of a bully target, and to avoid negligence Vincent is asked to babysit Oliver and as a result some interesting life lessons.
Now you might be thinking, Melissa McCarthy and Bill Murray, surely this is going to be another comedic adventure that will have me rolling on the floor. Well my friends, you would be wrong, at least in the traditional sense. St. Vincent is a comedy that is more about wit and delivery, than acting like an idiot or saying lines that will end up on a T-shirt. The dialog is well written, with Murray giving his opinion on life in blunt terms, not giving a rat’s behind at what people think. His outlook on life is cynical and a little depressing, but at the same time funny as he forces poor Oliver into situations no boy should see. What’s even funnier is how the boy reacts, and his responses that you would expect any preteen to respond with. It’s real, it’s clever, and it’s believable, all elements that I expected from the trailers and a nice change from most comedies these days. Of course what really made the comedy better for me was its integration into the story. It wasn’t forced, it came naturally, elements I appreciate in this genre.
Speaking of the story, St. Vincent’s tale is one that we have seen countless times. Murray’s character is a fallen soul, who most likely has a tragic past that leads to his cynical view of the world. We are plunged into his depressing lifestyle from the get go, and one can only hope that you get to the good part soon. Like most beginnings, this reviewer found the introduction a little slow, but once Oliver became part of his life it took a turn for the better. Soon we get to uncover the true heart of gold Vincent has, and see the actions that classify him as a saint. These actions are again relevant to the story, and gradually developed to give Vincent depth throughout the whole film. I didn’t find a scene that wasn’t necessary in this film, and loved how all the other elements of the movie maintained their integrity as the story developed. As my buddy put it, many of the moments are sweet, exactly what you would expect in a surrogate grandpa/grandson relationship. Yet that relationship is only part of the movie, as a few surprise elements are thrown in that derail this momentum. The plot is very predictable, the surprises sort of expected, but the movie has enough character to override the unoriginal plot line. The ending in particular had this robot tearing up, with how heartfelt it was.
Now how much of these feelings were the story and how much was acting that is the real question. The cast brilliantly acts out St. Vincent’s story, with each member an integral cog to the picture. Murray is his typical self, and plays the arrogant jerk to the letter as he always does. You are torn between loving and hating Vincent for the whole movie, unsure if he is worth rooting for. Lieberher is good too, the sidekick role suiting him well as he brings that child naivety to life, with a little sarcasm thrown into the mix. Naomi Watts is beautiful in this film, not only in looks, but her tough as nails attitude that matches her Russian accent, which I think sounds pretty good. As for McCarthy, the woman has some really good lines, but she plays a more serious role in this venture that was a welcome change. She plays the hardworking mother well, and keeps the adventure grounded Alone they all rock, but the chemistry between them is fantastic, developing the group into a little family whose lives are unfolding. In particular Lieberher and Murray’s chemistry is top notch, both forcing the other to grow up almost like they were the missing cog in each other’s life, how convenient huh?
St. Vincent is a very emotional tale. While it is predictable, the delivery is incredible with acting and story balanced to make a believable tale. While I think some of the vocabulary and cursing are a little extreme, I think many will enjoy this comedy if you go in with an open mind. Again don’t expect this to be the mainstream blockbuster with quirky phrases, but instead a journey to self-discovery with some comedy on the side. A warning though, exercise caution if you are one of the following: planning on bringing young kids due to language, bothered by realistic problems, or an optimist who can’t handle negativity. My scores for St. Vincent are:
Movie Overall: 8.0