Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin Will Rob a Bank, and Have Fun Doing it.
Directed by Zach Braff
Starring Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin
Released April 7th, 2017
Willie (Morgan Freeman), Joe (Michael Caine) and Albert (Alan Arkin) have been pals for many, many years. When they’re not hanging with their spaced-out lodge buddy Milton (Christopher Lloyd), they’re working hard at their company, counting the days until they can retire with full pensions.
When the company they work for is bought out, leaving them with no pensions, the boys decide to do the only sensible thing: rob their bank. Each has their own reason for doing so: Joe wants to provide for his granddaughter Brooklyn (Joey King), Willie is in need of a life-saving surgery, and Albert has nothing better to do.
Going in Style is elderly wish fulfillment of the highest order, a movie that isn’t based in any kind of discernible reality.
The old men decide to rob a local grocery store first, but they don’t hit the cash register, they stick food down their waist-high pants. This shoplifting scene is the low point of the movie. It’s not funny, it makes little sense, and I’m not sure why it was included other than to give Kenan Thompson a cameo.
Through Joe’s deadbeat ex son-in-law Murphy (Peter Serafinowicz), the men meet Jesus (John Ortiz) who shows them the ropes of bank robbing and gifts them a few blunts as well. With a plan in place, our would-be criminals don Rat Pack masks and attempt to stick it to the man without anyone getting hurt, and without getting caught.
Ann-Margaret shows up as Albert’s love interest Annie, playing a variation of her saucy character from the Grumpy Old Men movies. Peter Serafinowicz doesn’t have much to do as Brooklyn’s father Murphy, but Joey King is as delightful as Brooklyn as she’s been in any of her films. Morgan Freeman is able to cut loose and have some fun as Willie, while Alan Arkin ramps up the curmudgeon level to 100. What accolades could I possibly shower upon Michael Caine that he hasn’t already received? He’s simply one of the best.
Going in Style is elderly wish fulfillment of the highest order, a movie that isn’t based in any kind of discernible reality. While I wish the jokes had been funnier and the plot a little more clever, there’s real joy to be had watching these accomplished actors just have fun with each other while Rob Simonsen’s big band-influenced score compliments the sunny California scenery.
Following Garden State and Wish I Was Here, Going in Style is the third movie Zach Braff has directed, but the first that he didn’t write. Based on Martin Brest’s much different film from 1979 (starring George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strasberg), this version leaves out the original’s melancholy for a breezy, lighter-than-air quality that will play well to audiences of a certain age.