With the stop-start pacing of an OAP on a golf cart, Going in Style wastes its first act trudging through ham-fisted politics before abruptly shifting into high gear to speed through the heist itself. Ultimately, it skids into a family-friendly ending. The easy chemistry between these three incredible screen veterans fills the gaps when the film falters, but the script isn’t rich enough to provide anything substantial. Director Zach Braff is forced to keep things straightforward, although he adds a little energy to the movie through the inventive and stylish montages that are required in all heist movies.
In fact, the film’s funniest moments come visually; Morgan Freeman’s practice supermarket robbery will certainly stay with you, and Going in Style gets a lot of mileage out of Alan Arkin doing a silly walk. A smattering of small but memorable performances by Kenan Thompson, Ann-Margret and Christopher Lloyd also serve to liven up the edges, although Peter Serafinowicz is bizarrely wasted as Michael Caine’s deadbeat son-in-law.
Tonally the film is a little hit and miss, overplaying its hand with a saccharine happy ending but sidelining an interesting relationship between Caine’s Joe and his granddaughter. Joey King’s considerable talent and chemistry with Caine is wasted in this underwritten role, and giving her more would have also served to undercut the film’s “old boy” focus. Warner Bros. didn’t bother to update the gender representation for this reboot of the 1979 caper, and Going in Style seriously lacks a female perspective.
Going in Style models itself after your granddad. He’s a bit slow, out of touch, and rough around the edges – but he’s good-natured, and can tell some great stories. Sadly these stories are few and far between, as a weak script trips up a talented director and three legendary actors.
CAST: Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin, Joey King, Keegan Thompson, Ann-Margret, Christopher Lloyd, Peter Serafinowicz
DIRECTOR: Zach Braff
WRITERS: Theodore Melfi (screenplay), Edward Cannon (based on the 1979 story by)
SYNOPSIS: Desperate to pay the bills and come through for their loved ones, three lifelong pals risk it all by embarking on a daring bid to knock off the very bank that absconded with their money.