Reel Shorts | Going In Style

by Charles Kirkland, Jr.

Once again, Hollywood takes a page out of its past to update the feel-good geriatric buddy heist comedy, Going In Style.

Joe (Michael Caine), Willie (Morgan Freeman) and Al (Alan Arkin) are old buddies, emphasis on old. In their seventies, they have retired from over thirty years of hard labor at Wechsler Steel and are now getting by on their pensions. They spend their days playing competition bocce ball and hanging out at the local lodge. Willie and Al live together and Joe lives with his daughter, Stacey, and grand-daughter, Brooklyn (Joey King).

One day, Joe receives a default letter from Williamsburg Savings Bank and decides to investigate. While receiving the news that the bank has tripled his mortgage, Joe is witness to the robbery of the bank. Fascinated by the precision of the robbery and after hearing that the dissolution of his pension is being overseen by the same bank, Joe is inspired. He convinces his old friends to rob the bank.

Going In Style is a remake of a 1979 movie of the same name that starred George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strasberg, was written and directed by Martin Brest and based on a story by Edward Cannon. This version is written by Theodore Melfi (Hidden Figures, St. Vincent) and directed by Zach Braff (Garden State, Scrubs). Braff who is slowly creating a reputation for delivering clever and humorous work does a stand-up job in this hilarious spin on the original story. While the first movie had few cute and funny moments, this remake goes overboard on the funny and attempts to tug on the heartstrings of the viewers.

Christopher Lloyd, Peter Serafinowicz, Kenan Thompson and the incomparable Ann-Margaret pop up like the numerous Easter eggs of the movie and round out an outstanding supporting cast and help to create alternative subplots about mature relationships, growing old and even kidney donation that also did not exist in the first movie. Braff also tries to inject a little social commentary about being senior citizens in America. The problem is because this is the sixth movie that Caine and Freeman have done together, combined with Freeman’s previous movies Last Vegas and The Bucket List, there is a feeling that we have seen this movie before.

Rated PG-13 for language, Going In Style is a syrupy sweet, funny and slightly emotional popcorn film. Going In Style makes for an enjoyable matinee feature to see if you’ve seen everything else. Don’t worry, you’ve probably seen this before too.

Grade: C+