“Going in Style” was a 1979 crime caper comedy that earned a special award at the Venice Film Festival for stars George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg. Three iconic veteran actors of this generation – Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin – have all earned their fair share of awards. But they won’t be adding any for this mistake of a remake.
Caine’s Joe, Freeman’s Willie and Arkin’s Albert are in serious financial trouble. Their pensions from careers working in a Brooklyn factory are being eliminated. On the verge of losing his house, Joe comes-up with the idea of robbing his local bank and stealing the amount of money the trio will need to live “in style” for the rest of their lives – however long that might be.
The idea of a comedy with senior citizens robbing a bank probably sounded clever and unique back in ’79. 38 years late – it just seems dated. And we’ve seen these actors recently in films such as “Last Vegas”, “Stand Up Guys” and the “Now You See Me” series – in active and energetic roles. Buying them as desperate, broke geriatrics is tough to chew.
And it doesn’t help that “Going in Style” has a stumbling, bumbling pace, with no rhythm or actual style. This is the third feature as director for “Scrubs” star Zach Braff, and his third time is not “the charm”. Efforts to infuse some life into the mostly comatose script with 70s theme music and graphics is simply annoying.
I genuinely laughed maybe four or five times during the opening 15 minutes (a screen in which the three guys are watching “The Bachelorette” is amusing), but the majority of “Going in Style” is totally uninspired. The main characters do a lot of talking, with few attempts at humor in their dialogue. And then there are a couple of scenes, including one in which they practice robbing a neighborhood grocery store, which are so ridiculous and over-the-top, they don’t gel at all with the mundane tone of the rest of the movie.
I’m sure Caine, Freeman and Arkin had a blast working together. For the rest of us: “Going in Style” is about as bland as a bowl of strained prunes. But at least they’re good for you.
On The Official LCJ Report Card, “Going in Style” gets a D+.
Running Time: 96 min.