Review: Going in Style

Score: C

Director: Zach Braff

Cast: Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin, Christopher Lloyd

Running Time: 96 Minutes

Rated: PG-13

“They make a pill for that.”

A remake of a 1979 original, Zach Braff’s comedy Going in Style proves that great actors can overcome a tired script, even if the whole thing falls victim to every cliché known to man.

Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin play Willie, Joe and Albert respectively, three former co-workers who find themselves on the outside looking in when they are notified that their pension is being dissolved.  Their solution?  Rob a bank.

It is an undeniable thrill to see these three legends on screen together.  Their ability to navigate the story is commendable as they attempt to breathe life into a genre that has become cluttered with adolescent action stars.  And while they give solid performances, the film doesn’t live up to its billing.

Even so you find yourself wanting to stand up and applaud each of the actors for their mere presence within the film.  And they deserve it.

Though the men are satisfied with their current situation, things get a bit tense when their pensions are cancelled and Joe begins to receive default notices on his mortgage.  The film transitions from a casual comedy to a “banks are the villain” heist film quickly, though it fails to leave its cute and dainty approach behind.

The typical montage of scenes is included as the three find a mentor, preform a dry run at a local supermarket, get progressively better at target practice, and formulate an alibi.  It isn’t that all of these aren’t necessary, but the generic presentation of each makes you feel as if someone was in the back checking things off a list as they ensured that they kept things comfortably within the lines.

It should be noted that all this happens within twenty days - an impressive feat for even the most versed thief.

The story’s evolution lacks energy and substance.  Many will find themselves entertained with Christopher Lloyd’s Milton, a not-all-there friend who stirs a few laughs with his unexpected one-liners.  But even that grows tiresome by the day of the proposed heist.

Though the retelling of the events on the day of the robbery to a standard (although painfully under qualified) cop played by Matt Dillon proves a few smirks, it is hard to get behind a story that is achingly lazy and unapologetically dull.

Going in Style is splattered with old age clichés, basic dialogue and a sluggishly lazy third act.  The film’s three leads barely break a sweat as they serve their times in their roles, remaking a 1979 film that few considered great in its day.  Though you might walk out with a simply smile on your face, it will be hard for anyone to overlook the insufficient level of filmmaking here.


About Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis
I owe this hobby/career to the one and only Stephanie Peterman who, while interning at Fox, told me that I had too many opinions and irrelevant information to keep it all bottled up inside. I survived my first rated R film, Alive, at the ripe age of 8, it took me months to grasp the fact that Julia Roberts actually died at the end of Steel Magnolias, and I might be the only person alive who actually enjoyed Sorority Row…for its comedic value of course. While my friends can drink you under the table, I can outwatch you when it comes iconic, yet horrid 80s films like Adventures in Babysitting and Troop Beverly Hills. I have no shame when it comes to what I like, and if you have a problem with that, then we’ll settle it on the racquetball court. I see too many movies to actually win any film trivia contest, so don’t waste your first pick on me. My friends rent movies from my bookcase shelves, and one day I do plan to start charging. I long to live in LA, where my movie obsession will actually help me fit in, but for now I am content with my home in Austin. I prefer indies to blockbusters, Longhorns to Sooners and Halloween to Friday the 13th. I miss the classics, as well as John Ritter, and I hope to one day sit down and interview the amazing Kate Winslet.

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