Movie Review: St. Vincent (2014)

Posted: October 30, 2015 in Drama
Tags: , ,

st vincent

Vincent (Bill Murray) is a crotchety old man, whose life is taking a downward spiral. He’s an inveterate drinker and gambler, and he’s sleeping with a pregnant Russian prostitute named Daka. (Naomi Watts) Vincent meets his new neighbor, Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) when movers she hired knocks over a tree branch.  Maggie is a medical technician who is also a single mother with a 12 year old son named Oliver. (Jaeden Lieberher) Oliver goes to a Catholic school despite being Jewish, and he’s being bullied by a boy named Ocinski. (Dario Barosso)  During an emergency Maggie asks Vincent to babysit Oliver.  Is Vincent a bad influence on Oliver, or is Oliver a good influence on Vincent?

I didn’t like St Vincent at all.  What I liked least about this movie is that the story was so damn predictable that I knew from the first minute what was going to happen, no suspense, no surprises, the screenplay was basic connect the dots.  There was some phony baloney pathos thrown in for all the characters, but nothing real enough to draw the audience in or make them care.  Why make a Jewish kid go to a Catholic school, except to justify the title of the movie.  It makes no sense.

The acting is just plain awful. Murray plays a grumpy old iconoclast, who the audience is supposed to feel sorry for once the movie unfolds.  But he seems so bored with the screenplay that he can only feign interest in a character not grounded in reality.  Murray has a little trouble with his accent, at first he sounds like he’s from Chicago, then Boston, but I think the story is set in New York.  Poor Naomi Watts, saddled with an awfully written Russian character, forced to do a lousy Russian accent, playing Hollywood’s favorite female character, sadly, that’s a prostitute.  The good news is that Melissa McCarthy has toned down her angry, raging loudmouthed character, the bad news is it doesn’t help the movie at all. The kid who plays Oliver is cute and precocious, but what 12 year old gives an adult life advice?  Not many.

The director, who has  mostly directed short films before this got a restrained performance from McCarthy, which is an improvement, but he gets a comatose performance from Murray, which was not great.  And he uses a montage in the firm, one of my least favorite movie techniques.

St Vincent:  Murray doesn’t deserve top Bill-ing anymore.

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