DVD Review: St. Vincent

stvincent-dvdSTUDIO: The Weinstein Company/Anchor Bay | DIRECTOR: Theodore Melfi | CAST: Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Jaeden Lieberher, Chris O’Dowd, Terrence Howard
RELEASE DATE: 2/17?/15 | PRICE: DVD $29.98, Blu-ray $34.99
BONUSES: Q&A with St. Vincent team, deleted scenes
SPECS: PG-13 | 102 min. | Comedy drama | 1.85:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1/DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio  | Video  | Overall

 

The high concept idea of “Bill Murray as a babysitter” works for the most part in St. Vincent, a comedy with dramatic elements that showcases Mr. Bill in all of his cantankerous glory.

Bill Murray is St. Vincent

Bill Murray is St. Vincent

Murray (The Monuments Men) plays the misanthropic title slob, a not-so-happy fellow who lives the life of a near-recluse calling on only his cat and a pregnant Russian hooker (Naomi Watts, Birdman) for friendship. That is. until a single mother (Melissa McCarthy, Tammy) moves next to him and, in desperation, allows Vincent to babysit her son Oliver (Jaeden Liebeher) while she works. Of course, Vincent introduces the kid to his way of life–gambling, booze, women–and teaches him life lessons and how to handle a bully along the way.

Written and director by the debuting Theodore Melfi, the film vaults over its formulaic presence on Murray’s force-of-nature presence. His character is often downright mean and unlikable, but Murray make us care for him because of his lived-in performance that brings an air of gracefulness to the creep, hinting that there’s a secret that makes him tick, which we learn late in the film.

In addition to Murray, the rest of the cast is top-notch. McCarthy tones her act down to make a believable struggling mother, while Watts displays some seldom-seen comedy chops as the tough but vulnerable Soviet streetwalker. For his part, young Jaeden Liebeher is fine as the kid who gets a backbone thanks to his new neighbor.

Bonus features include a handful of excised scenes and, better, a 15-minute featurette about “Bill Murray Day” which took place at last year’s Toronto Film Festival and includes an onstage Q&A with Murray and his collaborators on St. Vincent (which premiered at the fest).

 

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About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.