A cast of relaxed old pros who seem to be having a great deal of fun, “Going in Style” has an easy, but mediocre charm.
Entirely predictable throughout, the film follows Oscar winners Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin as lifelong buddies who risk it all by embarking on a daring bid to knock off the very bank that absconded with their pension money.
Picture “Grumpy Old Men” meets “Ocean's Eleven” with a sprinkle of “Hell or High Water,” it’s played largely for laughs, but also strikes a note of genuine outrage over the machinations of big business.
Joe (Caine), Willie (Freeman) and Al (Arkin), have felt the pinch of disappearing benefits and bait-and-switch home loans, and fallen into the breach between what they were promised and what they got. After receiving staggering news that their pensions have been suspended—their futures, in effect, pulled out from under them they decide to knock off the Williamsburg Savings Bank. Pulling the perfect heist isn’t exactly an easy task, so the three old codgers try to find a criminal mastermind to lend a hand.
A remake of the 1979 film, directed by Martin Brest, it’s a watchable comedy about old men gone rogue. With likeable performances from all three leads, it's neither as emotionally engaging nor as laugh-out-loud funny as it thinks it is, and the script is entirely predictable.
Morgan Freeman as Willie, MIichael Caine as Joe Harding and Alan Arkin as Albert Garner
All the Oscar-winning leads deliver decent performances, even if none of them are particularly stretching themselves. Arkin as Al is the pessimist and curmudgeon of the group. Freeman, as Willie is his usual cheery self and brings warmth and likeability to the role and Caine as Joe, the instigator, lends just the right amount of humanity, along with a sly sense of humor and the attitude to make you believe this is actually going to happen.
Rounding out the main cast is the hot-blooded Annie, played by Ann-Margret who plays Al’s love interest. Joey King stars as Joe’s beloved, whip-smart granddaughter, Brooklyn. Peter Serafinowicz is Brooklyn’s father, Murphy, whose unsavory pot clinic connections proves useful, and John Ortiz as Jesus, is the shady character who agrees to show the novice bank robbers the ropes. Matt Dillon stars as persistent FBI Agent Hamer, and Christopher Lloyd is the guy’s well-intentioned but somewhat scattered lodge buddy, Milton and a store manager Keith, played with comic understatement by Kenan Thompson.
Directed by Zach Braff, there is a lot of silliness, mild misadventures and jokes about elderly aches, pains and complaints. Overall, the picture has a compelling story, but belly-laugh material it isn't, still it certainly fits the remedy for a decent piece of entertainment.
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