Going in Style (2017)
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Starring film veterans Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin, GOING IN STYLE tells the story of how these three are pressed against the wall, financially, and their last resort is to rob a bank to get the money they need.
And...it's fun...not hilarious...not groundbreaking, but fun. Caine, Freeman and Arkin believably play 3 long time friends who are nearing the end. There is a comfort there with each other and it was pleasant to spend time with them. Joining them was the one and only Ann- Margret and the always fun Christopher Lloyd (in, hands down, the best performance and most interesting character in the film).
Notice, I've used the words comforting, pleasant and pleasing. I did NOT use the words groundbreaking, hilarious or epic. I certainly enjoyed myself and am glad I saw it.
And you will too, whether you see this film in the movie theater or run across it as you are lying on the couch some rainy Sunday afternoon.
Letter Grade: a solid "B"
7 (out of 10) stars and you can take that to the Bank (of Marquis)
In their "Going in Style" remake, Braff and Melfi have preserved the premise about three seniors who decide to stage a bank robbery. Braff and Melfi stick with the same three names of the original characters: Joe, Al, and Willie, but change their color and nationality. Typically, Hollywood prefers to reward altruistic characters who perform good deeds and punish villains for their selfish, wicked ways. Comparatively, Braff's "Going in Style" remake relies far more on feel-good fantasy than abrasive drama, and the characters are not the original skeleton crew. Braff and Melfi have gone to considerable lengths to flesh out each character so these individuals boast stronger motivations about turning to a life of crime despite the possibility of not only shooting up a bank but also being shot by anyone during the robbery. Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Arkin step into the shoes of George Burns, Art Carney, and Les Strasberg as the three codgers who committed the crime. Happily, the new Willie, Al, and Joe enjoy greater success than their predecessors after they carried out their criminal enterprise.
"Going in Style" never lets one of the three heroes outshine the other two in terms of extended or abbreviated screen time. Willie (Morgan Freeman of "Driving Miss Daisy"), Al (Oscar-winning actor Alan Arkin of "Argo," and Joe (Oscar-winning actor Michael Caine) neither live together nor contend with the dried-up, depressing, boring lives that their predecessors endured with death looming on the horizon. Rather than robbing a bank out of sheer boredom, the three new protagonists resort to bank robbery because the company that employed them for 30 years has frozen their pensions and it is stashing that pension money in a local bank for other purposes. Willie, Al, and Joe attend the public meeting at their old company, and they walk away with rage in their hearts. Willie teeters on the verge of death from a bad kidney, but refuses to alarm them. His doctor warns him he must locate a donor because his chances of acquiring a new kidney are slim to none. Al gave the best years of his life to the same company, but he abhors the idea of sticking up a bank. Eventually, he decides to join them. Ultimately, the driving force behind the bank robbery caper is Joe because he has overdrawn his checking account and is poised to lose his home. In the original, Willie, Al, and Joe all shared the same house. Furthermore, the original protagonists were all Caucasian, while the latest group emerges as diverse, multi-cultural triad. African-American, Jewish-American, and British, without a White Anglo-Saxon in sight. Like the original, the individual who formulates the strategy for stealing thousands of bucks at gunpoint is Joe. Not only does Joe fear he will lose his house, but he also dreads the prospect that his granddaughter, Brooklyn (Joey King of "The Conjuring") and her mother, Rachel (Maria Dizzia of "Margin Call") won't have a place to live after his eviction.
Joe is oblivious to his monetary woes until he visits his bank and discovers his dire straits. While he is learning about his woebegone financial status, three masked felons decked out in black suits with assault rifles burst into the bank and threaten to shoot anybody who doesn't cooperate. They make all the customers lay on the floor and they go from one bank cashier to the next watching each as they dish out the dough and put it in their satchels. The efficiency and speed of these three bank robbers stun Joe. Indeed, this robbery scene reminded me of the scene in director Michael Mann's classic caper "Heat" (1995) with Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. Like his predecessor in the 1979 original, Joe has a difficult time persuading his two lifelong friends to accompany him to the Williamsburg Savings Bank in Brooklyn with pistols and masks. Unlike their predecessors, these three decide to learn a little about bank robbery from a pro, Jesús (John Ortiz of "Kong: Skull Island"), who operates a dog grooming business, but moonlights as a bank robber. Jesús trains them in every aspect of a hold-up, and they cut him in for a quarter of the loot. When Willie, Al, and Joe enter the bank, they have a clue about what they're doing, and they maintain a timetable so as to escape before the police arrive.
"Going in Style" generates lots of comedy and some spine-tingling suspense. Predictable in certain respects, this immaculate bank robbery caper never wears out its welcome, with heroes that you can respect and root for in their efforts to make good.
Actors Actors on the main roles, Braff took the first magnitude: Morgan Freeman, Michael Kane, Alan Arkin. Each of the actors is already a professional in their field, so they played at their good level: convincingly and vigorously. This film is the sixth joint work of Morgan Freeman and Michael Kane after the trilogy of Christopher Nolan about Batman and the "Now You See Me" dialog. Not a bad role was the young actress Joey King, who played the granddaughter of the character Michael Caine. I think that the actress will have many good and interesting roles in the future. Also pleased with the appearance of Christopher Lloyd, who was remembered by the majority for the role of Dr. Emmett Brown in the trilogy "Back to the Future".
Story As I wrote earlier, before watching this film, I already looked at the version of 1979. When I went to the film, I assumed that I would see the story one by one, only with the eyes of another director. But, as it turned out, the film's writers foresaw this and pleasantly surprised me by changing the plot in key places. Both films, the 1979 film and the Braff movie are based on the work of Edward Cannon.
Cinematography Separately, I would like to note the excellent and beautiful camera-work of Rodney Charters, which positively influenced the film and created for him a memorable style.
The Result Although the film is not based on the original script of Zach Braff, his style is still very clearly traced in the picture. I believe that under the leadership of Braff, the film turned out to be much more energetic and cheerful compared to the previous interpretation of the work of Edward Cannon. Remained pleasantly surprised and pleased of film. I look forward to the next product of Braff.
9 out of 10
LIKES: Classic comedy Good chemistry between actors Cute Nicely tied together story
Summary: If the intro didn't spoil it for you, Going in Style is true to its name, as the trio brings the classic comedy back into style. Fans of the slapstick of yore are going to bust a gut at this film as the timeless styles of the leads continue to shine bright. Caine and Freeman have comedic timing and delivery down, with clever lines craftily intertwined in the serious dialogue that put today's writing to shame. Arkin on the other hand is all about the banter and complaining, which for the most part is balanced and well-placed. The trio have great chemistry together, and sell that they are best friends who have faced the challenge called life. They sell the struggles and praise the joys, and do it with such class and minimizing the stupid, mindless banter famous today. And in addition to being funny, the lack of crude comedy also makes this movie cute. Watching older men trying to rob a bank, while also getting their lives in order makes for an adorable adventure as my friend commented. Of course, this reviewer likes a story to his comedy, and Going in Style gets this right too. It's a hardy story for most ages, and one that won't have the older audience members shaking their heads in shame. This may also surprise you, but there were a couple of twists that fooled me, which isn't easy in the comedy genre.
DISLIKES: Predictable Depressing at times Old jokes get a bit stale
Summary: With a simple story as this, it's not surprising that much of the story is predictable. Given the theme of the movie, you should be able to predict most of the ending, and certainly can guess where things are going to go wrong. Therefore, the uniqueness of this movie takes a hit in the story department. And no surprise, the comedy is also predictable and therefore loses the comedy edge they wanted to deliver at least to me. While the trailers do promote the more fun atmosphere of the movie, don't let it fool you that it is all happiness and rainbows (that's the Smurfs!). Going in style emphasizes the end of life generation, highlighting the less than glorious problems of getting older. There are parts that brought me down as they emphasized the sadder qualities of life. Thank goodness for the consistent comedy, because otherwise this could have been a much harder movie to watch. Of all the comedy this movie has in its folds, they certainly stuck with the old theme of this movie. Positives, there are plenty of quips and class to the punches they throw. Bad news, the quips get older than the actors delivering them. How many insults about difficulties getting up can you make, or metaphors for being poor and not having a check. It's good political awareness (nice work there writers), but it would have been nice for a little more variety to work its way into the vaudeville.
Going in Style is one of the classier, wittier comedies to end up in the theater this year. Both this reviewer and his friend, enjoyed the trade of simplistic one-liners and innuendos for a less aggressive comedy style that shows the traditional style has not been lost quite yet. Despite the trade up though, the movie is still very predictable and simplistic enough to still be stuck in the mediocre territory. As much fun as I had in the movie, there isn't much to warrant it for a movie theater visit, unless you are a fan of the traditional comedy and looking for a fun group/date movie.
My scores are:
Comedy/Crime: 7.5 Movie Overall: 6.0
I love a comedic plot and Going In Style is exactly that - three older men try to rob a bank to obtain a better life. These lifelong friends, Willie, Al and Joe, are having personal struggles. Willie (Morgan Freeman) desperately needs a new kidney. Joe (Michael Caine) is losing his home. And, Al (Alan Arkin) is just pressured into robbing a bank. Joe thinks of making the idea a reality once their pensions are canceled. Inspired by a robbery the men witnessed, Willie, Joe and Al are optimistic they can steal their deserved pension money, but are going to need help.
Morgan Freeman's portrayal of Willie is incredible. Given that Willie needs a new kidney to better his life, Freeman's despair is heart-wrenching and he connects with the audience in a unique way, because he remains hopeful that he will feel better in the near future. Michael Caine really suits the role of Joe whose fearless personality helps accelerate the success of the robbery. Alan Arkin plays Al who acts innocent at first, but once the robbery becomes a reality, you see his wild side emerge and it is quite hilarious.
The costumes worn by Willie, Joe and Al are extremely entertaining. They wear masks that resemble famous people! In addition to this, the bank they plan to rob is very fancy. Seeing famous people walk into an elegant bank with guns and large bags is humorous to watch. My favorite part is when Joe and Willie are watching television and The Bachelorette comes on. This scene had me laughing the entire time because I am a such a Bachelorette fan. Seeing these older men discuss Kaitlyn Bristowe's final pick was unexpected, but gave me a good laugh.
The message of this film is to chase after your dreams, no matter how old you are. If 70 year old men can rob a bank, then you can too. All humor aside, the film illustrates that nothing is impossible and you can better your life if you want to. Hands down, this film deserves 5 out of 5 stars. There are a multitude of jokes, action scenes and the motivation that these three men possess to reunite with their families and better their lives is so strong. It motivates me to jump over any obstacle in my way and complete any task I need to. I recommend this film to kids ages 13 to 18, because it leaves you with a smile on your face. Even though it is about robbing a bank, kids know to not replicate that, so I'm not concerned about them heading out to rob their neighborhood bank.
There are a few shooting scenes, so please be mindful about who goes to see this film. Adults will love this film as well, because they can relate to the personal issues these men face. It has something for everyone and if you have never seen three older men rob a bank, you definitely should.
By Samantha M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.
Down on their luck, the three old friends struggle to simply get through the day is becoming more unbearable each day. 'Joe' is under the pressure of bank eviction notices, 'Willie' has to overcome the distance from the family, and 'Al', well, could not care less as long as he is not alone. Alan Arkin, by the way, steals every scene – "Little Miss Sunshine" vibes.
Their situation reaches its breaking point when their pensions are frozen. The three leads decide to rob their mutual bank and this part of the plot is what defines this movie for what it is. On the one hand, it plays up, to the maximum level, all the possible jokes and funny moments applicable to the circumstance – and the payoff includes a supermarket scene that I will not forget so soon. Another way it works is with the sneaky and twisty nature of the bank robbery operation – orchestrated with the help of 'Jesus' (John Ortiz). These do not just make sense, but they are truly clever.
The part where it comes across as not as bright is in its efforts of justifying the leads actions. Of course, situations like this can and do very well happen, and are genuine injustices. Michael Cane sells that emotion with a few dramatic scenes involving his granddaughter in the film 'Brooklyn', played by Joey King. It is, however, in dealing with the circumstances of the robbery and the nature of such a situation that it falls short. Again, this is does not get in the way of it being a good and fully enjoyable film; it only keeps it from having that extra level of much appreciated sophistication.
Ultimately, "Going in Style" does what it came to theaters to do: get constant, big, and loud laughs from the audience. It provides spectators with incredible 90 or so minutes of good fun at the movies. Despite hilarious supporting performances by Christopher Lloyd as 'Milton' and Ann-Margaret as 'Annie', the three Oscar winners leads carry this film with such class and wit that it makes it really hard not to enjoy the trip to the theater.
This is a geriatric heist comedy that is a remake of a 1979 film of the same name-it starred George Burns, Art Carney & Lee Strasberg. In the original, the old timers were resorting to robbing a bank because of boredom and wanting to feel young again. In this version, they are forced into a criminal life because of necessity-they need the money because they have lost their pensions. Morgan, Michael & Alan are the 3 old friends on fixed incomes that decide to rob the bank that is foreclosing on Michael's house. Ann plays a woman at the local grocery store that likes Alan. One of the funniest scenes is when the guys decide to do a trail run on the grocery store, in preparation for robbing the bank-they try to steal groceries. They are not very good at it and decide to get help from a professional thief who gets them into shape. It's not laugh out loud funny but it is entertaining and I smiled a lot. It is directed by Zach Braff, who was an actor in Garden State & Scrubs_tv. It's rated "PG-13" for drug content, language and sexual content-no nudity-and has a running time of 1 hour & 36 minutes. I enjoyed it enough that I would buy it on DVD.
So this is another remake of a movie I have not seen or heard of but seems like a justified update I suppose. The plot centres on three old geezers played by Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin who are all made redundant. Not only that but they all lose their pensions due to their company being bought out and the restructuring within. So what do these old blokes do? Well they decide to rob the bank that is carrying out the restructuring of their pension funds.
So you get the gist here, geriatric bank robbers equals hilarity...right? Well yes and no, its hardly a laugh riot that's for sure, but predictable and cliched? Most definitely. To start with things move slowly as we meet the three characters and get to know their lives a bit. This is of course required to make us care about these guys and see their situations but it all moves slowly (just like old people). Each character has a different problem that is there to pull on your heartstrings. Joe (Caine) lives with his daughter and granddaughter but due to losing his job and pension they could all be evicted. Willie (Freeman) is becoming very ill due to kidney failure but also cannot afford to visit his family. Albert is the only one without anything overly disastrous happening, he's just a relatively poor old man. So, old men good, bank evil. Got it? Good.
So to prep for their outrageous felony the guys first try to shoplift from a grocery store. This is one of the only truly funny sequences in the movie showcasing stereotypical geriatric tomfoolery and slapstick. The guys don't have a clue what to do and end up shoving all manner of things down their pants, inside jacket pockets or where ever. The getaway on the mobility scooter tops it off perfectly...if again a little too cliche. Because of course they escape on a mobility scooter, they're old farts. A security officer chases after Albert but it doesn't last too long because Albert is...well old! 'this isn't an admission of guilt, I'm just tired'. The follow up with the store manager (Kenan Thompson of 'Kenan & Kel') is also quite amusing.
After this disappointing test run they seek help from an actual criminal to help them plan their heist. Cue training montage of old men getting fit and learning the tricks to becoming a top bank robber. Eventually we actually get to the actual bank robbing (are all American banks this splendid looking?) and being a family film its all very gentle and soppy. Old Willie almost keels over from overheating in his mask but is helped by a little girl in a vomit- inducing 'aww' moment. But then things take a slightly darker turn when the bank manager pulls a gun and tries to shoot the old men, but misses. Albert then strides over to the manager firing his blanks at him. This all felt very out of place in my opinion, especially when Albert starts firing his gun at the manager whilst saying he's gonna die. I realise he's letting out his frustration on the manager because of their financial situations and whatnot but Jesus!
Apparently the original movie has a more downbeat ending with the old guys getting caught, but this has been overturned here. In this heart-warming adventure the guys get away with it and give much of the money away to all their friends and family. Pretty stupid really, seeing all these people getting packages with huge wads of cash in them. I think most people would probably go to the police suspecting criminal activity, not wanting to get in trouble or dragged into anything.
Like I've said this is a SLOW moving film, there are lots of typical family scenes with soppy dialog. You do get a good sense of each character for sure but all the while you sit there just wanting them to get on with it. Basically you're not really interested in all the lovey-dovey build up, you just wanna see these guys rob the bank. Its all about old age pensioners robbing a bank, that's amusing and that's all you wanna see. The rest is all very very safe, clean and formulaic; light-hearted being an understatement. So yeah its fine, but could of been much funnier I think.
The problem is it's now 2017 and their age can't be taken out of the text of the film - this is the Grumpy Old Men or even The Bucket List of NYC heist movies - and the director Zach Braff is a hack. Sorry, but... no, I'm not sorry to type that. While I haven't Wish I Was Here, Garden State is not simply in retrospect but what I knew at the time to be an unconvincing and cloying indie that had some decent acting and (not mutually exclusive) some highly self-conscious directorial moves and writing that... well, it didn't date well then much less now.
I don't mean to beat up on Braff's film - good for him for making a movie, it wasn't a crime or anything - except to point to how in his third film out he has moved up to now making an unconvincing and typical and safe middle-brow comedy. It's not that the trailer even showed anything like an edge, but... damn, he could've tried, not to mention some twists and reveals near the end that made me groan so loud I got looks from some of the AARP folks in the theater. Oh, and the social issues are dealt kind of up front and we only sort of see the consequences/ramifications of what this does to people (it's closer to the depth of something like Tower Heist in that way).
And yet I have an admiration for this movie getting to see these faces and, at the least, Braff doesn't get too much in the way of Caine and Freeman and Arkin to do what they can with Melfi's also safe script. They work well together and I found myself laughing more than I expected from if not all of the dialog (though there's one or two clever moments from Melfi) then from how they deliver it. There's lifetimes of experience and knowledge and depths of pathos from these actors, even with Arkin who always seems to be Cranky-Ass Arkin (but this is likely an act, so to simply be this personality so convincingly is impressive), and they play off with as much comedy as they can get from the supporting cast like Christopher Lloyd as a dementia-ish Knights of Columbus fellow and Ann Margaret as Arkin's would-be love interest.
The heist itself is shown in broad strokes and we can buy it because, um, movie. I was fine with most of it, up until it strains credulity though this is largely when the alibis have to come out and all of the loose ends come together (and even here I could believe it, at least in the predictable-safe world its set in). Maybe my critical standards are getting rusty and I should harsher on this, not the least because it features a set-up involving a botched preparatory theft of... ingredients for Chicken Cordon-Bleu from a small super-market that is paid off in a way that makes less sense than it should. I wanted it to do a little more, but what it gave me was fine - I may just be a sucker for this cast and that, for what morsels they're given, they do as much and then some with it. It's an excellent Laundromat Movie: if it came on while I was doing/waiting for my laundry, I'd be highly satisfied.
In a theater.... ehhh... Extra points too for Matt Dillon as a non-plussed cop and a humorous Keenan Thompson as the security hack at the super-market.
Early on we get a fair idea of what it is to be elderly in a fast moving, youth obsessed society that basically treats it's elderly with condescending and patronizing attitudes at best.
That's as edgy as it gets. After around twenty minutes, the plot becomes quickly deluded with Luke-warm silliness that weighs in about one or two rungs above fart jokes. The humor is contrived and not funny.
Rather than explore the issues of aging more deeply (and yes, I'm well aware it was supposed to be a comedy), what we get is a buffoonish parade of supporting rolls around our central characters, from a bank manager who pees his pants to a variety of other morons not even worth mentioning.
Veteran actors Cain, Freeman, Arkin, Margret and Lloyd are completely diminished by the constant childish antics more befitting of a long forgotten made for TV movie-of-the-week.
If you still sleep with a teddy bear, you might like it.
If not, you'll find it as I did: Infantile and painfully dumb.
As in Martin Brest's 1979 original (which starred George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg), here three desperate, down-at-the-heels seniors — Alan Arkin, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman — try to escape penury and their end-of-life humiliation by robbing a bank.
Spoiler alert: Despite their age, incompetence, inexperience, they pull it off.
In fact the happy ending really piles it on. Their heist nets over $2million, but the film doesn't stop with that good fortune. It rather constructs a tower of them.
Willie saves his life by getting a kidney transplant (from longtime room-mate Albert. Albert has an affair with, then marries, the zaftig Annie (Ann-Margaret). Joe saves his home from dispossession, provides for his daughter and grand-daughter and also converts his delinquent ex-son-in-law to assume the obligations and pleasures of fatherhood.
Completing the joy, the lads' steady waitress is tipped with a wad big enough to choke a rhino and lands a man at least to dance with. The other resurrected old-timer Milton (a shrunken Christopher Lloyd) is allowed to sail blissfully on in harmless dementia. Fun and games all round.
Reality? Who cares. In the post-truth, alternative facts, world of Trumpery it's better to laugh at our daily tragedies than to try to amend them.
Two flirtations with disaster turn into even more joy. What seems like Albert's funeral turns into his wedding. The cops' last chance to bust our heroic trio is thwarted when the little black girl recognizes Willie from his wristwatch — with a portrait of his grand-daughter — but with the wisdom of Solomon helps him beat the rap. At its blackest, this film is only a tease.
Indeed, so much happiness, all those satisfying conclusions, ruin the film. Both versions are rooted in the serious predicament American seniors face, with increasing debility and dramatically diminishing health and financial support in the decaying American culture. American seniors have probably never faced such a bleak and hopeless situation as Trump's budget reductions are inflicting upon them.
But after the initial plot situation the film leaves that compelling social problem to wallow in magical happy resolution. This film doesn't address the social situation in a serious way that would make it significant but slides away into fantasy.
If the men go in style, the film goes without any substance. It provides no realistic means to address the social issue that is its raison d'etre. It does its audience and its culture a disservice by turning a national tragedy into a bunch of laughs and a resolution achieved by magic but not by any usable strategy. It prefers to numb the pain rather than to cure it.
In fact, this film bears out Russian director Sergei Eisenstein's distinction between Russian and American films. American films, he observed some 80 years ago (!), give their heroes a happy ending through some unrealistic, magical twist of plot. Russian films provide a realistic demonstration of how to work to achieve that satisfaction.
Poverty-stricken senior citizens in America can't hope to save themselves through crime. Unless, of course, they're in the White House. So what are they to do? And what might we do to honour our elderly (a principle articulated by the boys' heist-instructor)? Serious questions, never more pertinent and urgent than under Trump's regime. But this film laughs them away.
I'm explaining few a things. A little bit of the plot as well. Surely that won't spoil it for you. Entirely.
Based on the story 'Here on a Visit' by Edward Cannon, the 1979 version of Going in Style was the feature debut of 28-year-old director Martin Brest, who later achieved smash success with the likes of Beverly Hills Cop. It was a dry, low-key comedy featuring old vaudevillian George Burns, comedian Art Carney and method-acting legend Lee Strasberg, as a trio of retirees who elect to rob a bank with minimal planning, because, why not? It might be fun, if they get caught it's free room and board for a few years, and all they're doing otherwise is waiting for social security cheques and death.
2017's Going in Style is the big-budget attempt at directorial career reboot for unfashionable funnyman Auteur Zack Braff, who has assembled his own septuagenarian comedy super-group in Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin. In keeping with the customary 'more is more' approach of remake culture, this Going in Style mines the financial crisis for deeper motivation for the old timers' robbery – Caine's house is being foreclosed on, and all three protagonists see their steelworkers' pension fund dissolved.
Where Brest's film unfolded with pigeon-feeding scenes and wisecracks amid sighs, Braff gives us a loud machine gun robbery in the first five minutes, the bandit speechifying "You're a casualty of a corrupt system that no longer serves the people!" It is here Caine's character gets the inspiration to pull a bank job – his scheme to save his home by robbing the bank to pay the bank echoing last year's "Hell or High Water" by way of De Niro's "Last Vegas," which also stars Morgan Freeman. And a bit of Ocean's Eleven, for when they do commit their heist they wear Rat Pack masks.
Between the instigation and the execution, there are references to sore knees and musings on how many years they have left. There's a funny slapstick sequence where Caine, Freeman and Arkin test their criminal chops at a discount supermarket, only to knock over displays and make chase on a mobility scooter. Several episodes of Seinfeld are being referenced here, from old people stealing in 'The Bookstore' to George's Geriatric Bike Gang shenanigans in 'The Butter Shave'.
Indeed, there's a cameo from Seinfeld regular Siobhan Fallon Hogan. There are cameos from Kenan Thompson as a wisecracking retail manager, and Matt Dillon, who smirks his way through his role as the cop, and Christopher Lloyd, embarrassingly hung out to dry in some cruel parody of dementia, and Peter Serafinowicz, in a perplexing role as the simpleton stoner deadbeat dad to Caine's grandchild.
All these grab-bag references to comedy entertainment glory give Going in Style a soothing veneer but never cheer its hollow centre. A romantic subplot with Ann-Margret and Arkin simply reminds us that she's been playing love interest to aged cranks since 1993's Grumpy Old Men, while he's been moonlighting as dying granddad since 2006's Little Miss Sunshine. Braff, who in his Garden State days ambitiously aped techniques from Woody Allen, Pedro Almodóvar and Hal Ashby, is now content to visually experiment with a series of smooth but redundantly misbegotten split-screens.
The economic wackiness of the plot would seem rote in most movies, and seems particularly insincere when the executive producer here is Trump's Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin. This is not even to mention that while the title is Going in Style, these good old boys don't actually 'go'. If the original was about thumbing one's nose at mortality but ultimately facing it, there's a happy ending this time, suggesting maybe you can pretend that the end will not come as long as you can fantasise of a payday.
In theory, all the ingredients are there, three well loved actors, a bank heist and a great original material to work with. And yet, Going In Style fails to make any serious commentary on the worthy cause it purports to represent. Make no mistake, although the film wants you to root for these three wronged pensioners, this is no I, Daniel Blake. Despite having enough material to make a real social commentary about globalisation and capitalist greed, Braff misses a chance to make a valid point, and instead turns the whole thing into something, which will frankly leave a very few of you, well, cold. But don't argue about the fact that this is undeniably a very enjoyable watch with pitch-perfect acting from legendary actors.
Better than old timer foil like The Bucket List and Last Vegas, Going in Style has Braff channeling his inner Jon Turteltaub (minus the technological gadgets). There's the film score by Rob Simonsen that sounds like erratic spy music. There's also the fast cut editing and split screen shots detailing "Style's" pivotal bank robbery (and bank robbery planning). Lastly, there's the whole, we-get-it-you're-old plot element vested upon us. In jest, a lot of Going in Style feels like you're watching a comedic National Treasure complete with AARP interludes. Zach Braff casts three legendary actors (Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin) and with a breezily tone, makes them all seem likable.
Distributed by Warner Bros. and shot around parts of Brooklyn, Queens, and summertime Manhattan, Going in Style is about three lifelong pals named Willie (Freeman), Joe (Caine), and Albert (Arkin). They are insolvent, over the age of 75, and have their pensions revoked after the company they worked for, becomes restructured. Their solution and inspiration: Pull off a bank heist of over a million dollars with the guys wearing Rat Pack masks and donning firearms with blanks (examples of the Rat Pack are Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Joey Bishop). Look for a test robbery featuring Freeman and Caine knocking off a lowly supermarket. Also, be on the lookout for a scene where the three senior citizens toke up on some potent ganja (you know, the urban definition for weed).
All in all, "Style" despite a small twist, comes off as predictable, a little too happy happy, and altogether trivial. Yup, not much feels at stake. However, it's jolly, entertaining, and chuckled in a PG-13 sort of way. "Style" is a remake of a 1979 film saddled with the same title. I've never seen that George Burns vehicle and I may never see it (unless I decide to order the Blu-ray on Amazon). No matter. This new version of Going in Style probably has a "style" all its own anyway. Oh and I almost forgot, watch for famed actors Matt Dillon, Ann Margret, and Christopher Lloyd in small, supporting roles. They add to "Style's" lighthearted fun. Rating: 3 stars.
Going in Style is directed by Zach Braff of all people. The guy who brought us Garden State? Yep. I imagine this was a situation where he saw an opportunity to work with three of the greatest actors of this generation and took it, instead of this being some sort of passion project on his part. But that really is the selling point of the movie, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Arkin. Each are legends on their own, but seeing all three of them together is a pleasure for any film fan. These three have taken some heat in the past about appearing in mediocre films and giving mediocre performances, with some even accusing them of "mailing it in". Luckily, there's none of that here. You can tell the three of them had a blast filming together and it clearly shows in the final product. The film won't knock your socks off, but I'll watch anything with these actors.
It's not all giggles, though. There's a deeper message in Going in Style about living your life until the very end, and not sitting back and letting others ruin your life. I'm not sure the film truly succeeded in that sense or I was getting a little sad at potentially watching my favorite actors realize their own mortality. Strangely enough, this is where the film is at its best. Whether its watching these guys tear up at the site of the granddaughters, or just busting each other over the smallest of things, I felt like I was watching them go through real-life issues. It sounds silly, especially considering they're all doing just fine financially in real life, but I felt really bad for these guys.
However, as expected, this movie is just plain ridiculous. The believability is off the charts and the writing is not good, to say the least. I like Theodore Melfi a lot, actually. St. Vincent is one of my favorite films of all time and Hidden Figures is gold, but I can't get behind his work here. I'm not sure whether it was a choice of some of the supporting actors, Braff's call, or in Melfi's script, but there's some really dumb stuff in this film.
As a whole, I had fun with Going in Style. It's far from perfect, and it can even be cringe worthy at times, but the emotions I got from seeing three actors you love truly sink their teeth into real- life problems of mortality was enough for me.
+Actors having a blast
+Well put together goofy heist film
-But sometimes it's a little too goofy
Rating: PG-13, 97 minutes
In a Nutshell: Face it, the cast is a bunch of adorable, lovable, and legendary guys: Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin. They have fantastic chemistry and are the highlight of the film. They ARE the film.
Going In Style is a remake of the old 1979 movie, yet the story still has relevance. You'll be entertained and walk out of the theater with a goofy grin on your face.
Uplifting theme: Life-long friends Loyalty, family, friendship "One can't get enough time." – Joe (Michael Caine) "Do you want to drift off into the sunset or go out with a bang?" – Joe "There's always another way." – Murphy (Peter Serafinowicz
Things I liked: Christopher Lloyd has a small role, but he does a great job and steals the scenes he's in. I don't like seeing him get so old, but it happens to all of us. We haven't seen Ann Margaret in a while. I think the first time I ever saw her in a movie was in Bye Bye Birdie. I thought she was mesmerizing. What incredible, long careers all of these actors have had. Pie! It's entertaining to see how they mastermind their big crime. Even funnier is watching them try to steal some groceries to get their feet wet in their new life of crime. Kids, don't try this! Have you noticed that Morgan Freeman has now been in 3 movies with the same theme that he's dying and now needs to do something crazy? Check out The Bucket List and Last Vegas. See? They're both fun flicks too.
Things I didn't like: The movie suggests that all banks are evil and heartless; therefore, it's OK to commit crime. It is NOT OK to commit a crime. When people have nothing to lose, they do bad and/or illegal things. Having challenges in life still doesn't give us permission to break the law. It's always a strange sensation when the audience wants the people in the movie to do something bad. Does that mean we're living variously through them? Do we want to be able to justify or rationalize our own bad behavior? What does that say about us? It's not laugh-out-loud super funny, but it's still charming.
Funny lines: "This isn't an admission of guilt. I'm just tired." – Albert (Alan Arkin) "Take my number. Things happen." – Mitzi (Siobhan Fallon Hogan) My family still imitates her funny accent when she said "sugar water" in Men In Black
Interesting lines: "We're friends, Willy. We're supposed to look out for each other, aren't we? Then, let's do it." – Joe (Michael Caine) "It's a culture's duty to take care of its elderly." – Jesus (John Ortiz)
Tips for parents: Some profanity, including one F-bomb You might have to tell the kids about who the Rat Pack was. Some suggestive material and pre-marital relations. Medical marijuana discussion
If you're interested in seeing the original Going in Style (1979) with George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strasberg, you can actually still get it on Amazon!
I decided after an hour I had enough, and walked out. I felt my sensibilities had been abused enough, and my time was too valuable to this level of schlock.
Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Arkin play the codgers with the significant charm of the actors making this mess bearable but no witty script to help beyond that. After too long a setup, the boys start planning, but not until they hit the bank does the comedy take off into comic land, albeit too briefly.
I could try to make Going in Style go in style with a fancy theme about the little guys fighting the impersonal, foreclosure-hungry banks, but that would be giving it too much credit. The few moments of humor are overshadowed by a formulaic story rescued by some interesting post-heist cover-your-tracks plans by the old guys.
The only scary heist is the price of admission to this clunker.
The three lead actors were impressive in their roles as we expect them to be. I think many of the scenes would fall apart without their acting class. They added a layer of emotion over the jokes happening in the scenes. They made this movie enjoyable throughout.
This is not the best comedy ever but this is good enough. I enjoyed every moment of it.