Bill Murray is a comedy legend. Time after time he has proven himself as not only one of the funniest actors but also one of the funniest people alive. He started his career as a stand-up comic and soon joined Saturday Night Live, a show that has been responsible for launching the careers of people like Dan Aykyord, Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Eddie Murphy, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey. Murray soon graduated to movies and had many fruitful collaborations with director Ivan Reitman, perhaps the most memorable one being Ghostbusters. He soon made many memorable turns in movies like Groundhog Day, Stripes, Kingpin, as well a dramatic ones in ‘Lost in Translation’, one that even earned him an Oscar nomination. He’s also been a Wes Anderson favorite and starred in nearly all of Anderson’s films. Even when a movie is not particularly good, Bill Murray is. With St. Vincent he finds himself given a similar responsibility.
Directed by first time director Theodore Melfi, St. Vincent tells the story of a young boy (Jaeden Lieberher) whose parents have just divorced finds an unlikely friend and mentor in the misanthropic, bawdy, hedonistic war veteran (Bill Murray) who lives next door. The film stars: Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts and Jaeden Lieberher. With the script also written by Melfi. As a movie, St. Vincent fails to truly make an impact. It’s a movie that’s pitched as a comedy-drama but fails to succeed as neither. The script is highly unfunny, I rarely laughed throughout the entire course of the movie, and whatever drama Melfi is trying to create is not translating its way on-screen. The plot is formulaic and predictable and the story highly clichéd. It feels like you’ve seen this movie before, only now it’s been rehashed somehow. Melfi thinks he’s presenting a sweet heartwarming dramedy but what this movie actually is, is a sappy, unfunny movie that tries to be sentimental and touch our hearts but fails miserably. As for the acting, this is a movie that relies solely on Bill Murray. His acting is perhaps the only upside to this entire rather forgettable affair. His character is one you’ve seen a million times before, in many movies before, a grumpy, nasty old man who at the end of the movie is not a grumpy, nasty old man. But it’s Murray’s wonderful acting and comedic timing that makes this movie somewhat watchable. Apart from him the acting isn’t really that good. Naomi Watts tries to do the best with her character but the character she plays is such a badly written and annoying character that it actually makes it worse. Melissa McCarthy is alright but it seems like she’s only there to move the story forward because she delivers the most straight forward lines of the entire movie, lines that require no acting experience whatsoever, lines that perhaps any other person who’s not an actor/ actress could have delivered just as well. Jaeden Lieberher does well on his acting debut, playing the lead role along with Murray and is somewhat enjoyable to watch at times.
All in all, St. Vincent is an uninteresting, clichéd and highly unfunny dramedy that will most probably be forgotten by next year. Watch it if you will for Bill Murray but other than that there’s really not enough to like about this movie.