Meet Vincent McKenna (Murray) a drinker, smoker, gambler, curser and a saint? Let me explain. So Brooklyn born and Nam vet Vincent lives life to its fullest, in his eyes, by going to the local bar, race tracks and shagging his pregnant Russian Hooker, Daka (Naomi Watts, terrific). At times he seems to be a misunderstood angry old man and at other times he seems to just not give a damn. Either way, Murray is hilarious in one of his best roles since Lost in Translation (2002). He’ll make you laugh out loud until you sides hurt. Vincent lives at his rundown home with his cat and doesn’t want to be disturbed, but that’s all going to change when single mother, Maggie (Melissa McCarthy), and her 12-year-old dorky yet charming son, Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher), move in next door.
McCarthy finally breaks away from the obnoxious foul-mouth character she has been label with for far too long. Maggie works at the local hospital, but can’t watch Oliver after he gets done with catholic school. Being in financial trouble, Vincent makes an offer to babysit Oliver after school until Maggie gets home to make some extra money. What Maggie doesn’t know is while Oliver is with Vincent; they’re hitting up the race tracks, local bars and strip clubs. Vincent also teaches Oliver how to be a man and fight against bullies at his school. Lieberher is charming as Oliver and his character helps shed a little more light to Vincent’s life. This witty duo is a blast to watch on the big screen together as they grow and mature.
First time director Theodore Melfi does a great job evenly placing the comedy at the beginning of the film, unfortunately, halfway through the film takes a right turn down sentimental road. It drifts dangerously close to sappiness, but thanks to Murray’s comedic force he’s able to single-handedly keep the film on the right track. In the end, Oliver begins to see something in Vincent that no one else is able to see and that’s a misunderstood man with a good heart.
I won’t spoil the ending for you, but lets just say that Oliver does prove Vincent to be, in fact, a saint. And that scene will tug at your heartstrings until you can’t hold back on those tears any longer. St. Vincent does have a good message and that’s not to judge a book its cover because deep down it may turn out to be pretty good. P.S. make sure you stick around for the ending credits with Murray watering his dirt yard and singing to Bob Dylan’s “Shelter from the Storm.” It will put a smile on your face.