If you want to know what Bill Murray's character - Vin - is like in this film, think Jack Nicholson in As Good as it Gets, or Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino. Or in fact any one of a whole host of irascible, curmudgeonly, alcoholic, bad-tempered old-guys that turn out to be big softies in the end, in scores of films in the past forty years.
There is really nothing new in this movie. Just as Vincent is a variation on the pattern of lovable codger, so we have a varied but predictable cast of odd-balls. There is the obligatory scrawny but smart little kid living next door who Vincent teaches to defend himself, his vulnerable, stressed mother who entrusts her son, Oliver, to Vincent's care after school, and Daga, a pregnant Russian prostitute, again the obligatory hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold.
Even Chris O'Dowd turns up here as a Catholic brother who teaches the children in the local school about saints. Of course O'Dowd is as far from the stern Christian brother of Angela's Ashes as you could get, his is Catholicism lite, he curses and is inclusive of all faiths and none, and his vision of sainthood is a little wider than the Vatican's.
The movie follows a predictable pattern, and almost never surprises. Even the ending, which is obviously supposed to be some kind of climax to which the previous hour and a half has been building, can be seen from an hour away, and is played for every piece of sentimentality that can be wrung out of it.
At its best
St Vincent is pleasant and
mildly entertaining, though there are few actual laughs in a movie that is
purporting to be a comedy. At its worst it is too sugar-sweet and corny and
cliched to take seriously, a missed opportunity with a cast that could have
done so much more.