*** out of ****
St. Vincent is a predictable comedy-drama that gets schmaltzy at the end, but, still, it is well done with a wicked central performance by Bill Murray.
Following a nasty divorce, Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) and her young son, Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher), move into a new house. Soon, the lonely Oliver befriends their neighbor, Vincent (Murray), a crotchety old misanthrope. Vincent drinks and gambles, and ends up babysitting Oliver after school. Of course, there is a softer side of Vincent that the kid will eventually bring out.
The early going is full of venomous wit and is reminiscent of 2003's Bad Santa. This is where St. Vincent is at its best – with Murray being a rude person and throwing out hilarious insults. Besides Murray, Naomi Watts is a riot as Vincent's Russian girlfriend, Daka, who is pregnant and a stripper. The kid, Lieberher, is good too. He's very natural and works well against Murray. And it's good to see McCarthy play something more than the usual shtick that she is almost always stuck with.
It's a given in movies like this that the grouchy main character has to change and see the error of his ways, but did it have to be this sappy? But, hey, it's funny enough with another fine, sardonic performance by Bill Murray.