Lowdown: A grumpy old man develops a relationship with the new next door neighbour child.
By now you should have been initiated on the genre of the grumpy old man that turns out to have a heart of gold, especially the niche that features an old actor we’ve seen plenty of times before deliver his pièce de résistance. I’m referring here to Clint Eastwood and his Gran Torino, but nowadays you can say pretty much the same about Bill Murray and St. Vincent.
Vincent (Murray) is your grumpy old man. St. Vincent clearly positions him to be an asshole spectrum of the grumpy old man. When new neighbours move in next door, single mother Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) and her child Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher), Vincent has no problems exploiting Maggie’s need to prove her worth at work in order to make a buck while offering his version of looking after/babysitting Oliver. The kind that includes taking young Oliver to the horses for some betting.
However, and since we’ve seen this before, we do find out – as St. Vincent progresses – that there is more to Vincent than meets the eye. Hence the movie’s title, I guess. What follows is your typical – yet good – feel good movie where, at the end and despite the hardships, everyone that wants to shed a happy tear would feel happy to do so. Not that there’s anything wrong with it!
Sure, St Vincent is not the world’s most original movie, neither the world’s least manipulative movie. Where it shines is in the acting department, and there is plenty of shine there: it’s an open and shut case with Murray, who delivers a brilliant performance of a Murray calibre this world has been short on for way too long. Murray is very ably supported by the minor roles, most notably a Naomi Watts that does the regular Naomi Watts thing and just blows the movie away with her performance of a pregnant Russian prostitute. Last of the notably mentioned is Chris O'Dowd, whose performance is not stellar but who is – thanks to The IT Crowd – a blog Hall of Famer; he adds extra jokes through his role as Oliver Catholic school teacher that’s required to deal with a classroom full of multiple/no faiths.
Overall: An all-around good delivery of a familiar dish, St. Vincent deserves 3.5 out of 5 previously lost in translation crabs.