Review: Going in Style

Going in Style
6 10

PLOT: After their pensions are wiped out, three elderly men (Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman & Alan Arkin) hatch a scheme where they’ll rob a bank and use the funds to make up for the money that was stolen from them.

REVIEW: For those unaware, GOING IN STYLE is actually a remake of one of director Martin Brest’s (BEVERLY HILLS COP, MIDNIGHT RUN) first movies, which starred then octogenarian superstar, George Burns. It’s funny how ancient the eighty-three year old Burns seemed in that movie when you look back at it now, with star Michael Caine being one year older than Burns was then (Alan Arkin is roughly the same age) but looking at least a decade younger.

In fact, all three of our elderly heroes look pretty well maintained, with Morgan Freeman the youngest of the trio at a sprightly seventy nine. Thus, the idea of these three guys robbing a bank isn’t as inherently silly a premise as it was the first time, although director Zach Braff’s cutesy touch makes the movie more of a feature-length sitcom than anything else. Throughout the ninety minutes it ran, I barely guffawed once (save for a few funny bits involving a cameoing Christopher Lloyd), yet I can’t say I didn’t like GOING IN STYLE at all.

Fact is, Freeman, Caine and Arkin are inherently watchable. It would be impossible to make a movie starring these three and have it be all bad. When the movie is focused on their believable friend chemistry it works. Just following the three guys around, watching them interact with their families, and getting in mischief is relatively pleasant, and to his credit Braff seems to know what he’s doing, by keeping the attention squarely on them throughout.

Caine is the most prominent of the three, with him wanting to use his funds to save his home from foreclosure, so he can provide for his divorced daughter and gifted grand-daughter (Joey King). In a nice twist, the absentee dad he’s filling in for isn’t a complete scumbag, being played by Peter Serafinowicz as a goofy pot dealer who wants to do the right thing if given another chance – a nicely redemptive note for a stock character who usually never gets a chance to redeem himself. Meanwhile, Freeman’s character is secretly in need of a kidney transplant, and just wants enough money to buy a plane ticket to see his grand-daughter one last time. Arkin’s character is kinda just along for the ride, seemingly being the least desperate of the gang, and in the throes of a romance with a local lady (Ann Margret).

The big issue with GOING IN STYLE is that Braff doesn’t seem to know where the laughs are, and the slapstick (at times) vibe doesn’t mesh with his more heartfelt style. It’s also a shame that he hasn’t brought any of the visual flair he brought to his other films, GARDEN STATE & WISH I WAS HERE, to this. It could have used a little visual pizzazz. Instead, you’d never know it was anything other than a journeyman director behind the camera.

As it stands, GOING IN STYLE isn’t especially funny, but it is pleasant and watchable. Caine, Freeman and Arkin are loveable guys, and watching them pal around as best friends is kinda charming, giving the movie a lot of goodwill to coast on. It’s not especially good, but they keep it from being anywhere near bad.

Source: JoBlo.com



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