When I become a senior citizen I want to be cool, still have a good mind, and be gutsy as Joe, Willie, and Albert. Going In Style, which is directed by Zach Braff (Scrubs and Wish I was Here), makes a competent remake of the film of the same title that was released in 1979 and was written and directed by Martin Brest (Beverly Hills Cop). I got a chance to see the original film and boy I haven’t laughed so much in a good while. While the remake does make some considerable changes in the story line and with the characters, I was surprised at how few laughs I experienced. Sure, the film does have funny moments but nothing that really stands out.
Joe (Michael Caine) is about to lose his home and realizes that his company is eliminating all pensions and retirement payments so they can move to another country. Joe and his friends Willie (Morgan Freeman) and Albert (Alan Arkin) both face a similar problem. Willie is sick with cancer while Albert is faced with dealing with a grocery store clerk named Annie (Ann-Margret) who is interested in him on the basis of a friends with benefits package. Albert wishes they he was diedd twenty years ago but later mentions, “I’ve always had bad luck, I’ll probably live till I’m 100.” Joe witness a bank robbery at his bank one day which turns out to be the very bank paying off the company’s bills and debts with the employee’s pensions. He is memorized by the skill of the robbers and thinks about it awhile finally concluding that in order to save his house and have somewhat of a reason to live why not go all the way out and rob the very bank that is screwing everyone over.
Reluctant at first, Willie and Albert decide to go along with the plan, but first they need practice. Besides they are not the Five-O, they are more like the Eight-O. They decide to steal several items at a local grocery store. Sure enough they are caught, but not without attempting to make a getaway. The store manager (Kenan Thompson) is not impressed and thinks it’s actually quite humorous that the elderly folks are trying to steal. What ensues later is the trio working with a partner Jesus (John Ortiz) and Murphy (Peter Serafinowics) to help plan this elaborate plan to rob a bank, create an unbreakable alibi, and get away with the crime without spending time in jail. The planning montage is funny and I really like how the editing was handled during those moments.
There are some tender moments in which the trio spend their time at a local diner chatting with their waitress (Siobhan Fallon Hogan), Joe walking his granddaughter (Joey King) to school promising to buy her a puppy if she makes the honor roll, and dealing with Milton (Christopher Lloyd) during their charity events. Along for the ride is FBI Agent Hamer (Matt Dillon) who is tracking the robbers who wore the Rat Pack Halloween masks during the robbery.
Verdict 3 out of 5
Despite the ridiculous story when compared to the original film, I rather enjoyed Caine, Freeman, and Arkin in their performances. Braff does a good job of handling the chaos and confusion when trying to get everything right prior to pulling off the robbery. The dialogue is funny especially for the older audiences who attend the film being able to identify with typical rants about daily life and issues, but was surprised at how careful the film was to not be so funny. I figured that the film would give us hilarious moments, screw-ups during the robbery, and perhaps a chase scene that was more unique than the one we were given. It seemed that the film was trying to be serious while not trying too hard to be funny, it feels natural but given the material it could’ve made more use of more jokes and moments of hilarity. If you can find a copy of the 1979 original it’s definitely worth a view. This remake isn’t better or worse, but it’s still a worthwhile time with the elderly.