McCoy on Movies: Going in Style

McCoy on Movies: Going in Style

by -

See why our movie critic says this Zach Braff-helmed remake of 1979 senior citizen bank robbery comedy proves fresh for 2017.


“C’mon fellas – if we’re gonna go on tour, you all gotta be able to twerk! Now bend those hips!” Annie (Anne-Margret) helps adjust Albert Garner (Alan Arkin) as Joe Harding (Michael Caine, far left) and Willie Davis (Morgan Freeman) attempt to stretch in a scene from Zach Braff’s take on GOING IN STYLE. Credit: Atsushi Nishijima © 2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment and Ratpac-Dune Entertainment, LLC. 


KEY VOICE CAST MEMBERS: Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin, Anne-Margret, John Ortiz, Keenan Thompson, Christopher Lloyd, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Joey King, Josh Pais, Peter Serafinowicz and Matt Dillon

WRITER(S): Theodore Melfi (screenplay); Edward Cannon (1979 original story on which the film is based)

DIRECTOR(S): Zack Braff

WEB SITE:’S THE STORY: Joe Harding (Michael Caine) is by all accounts a good man. He let his daughter (Maria Dizzia) and her young precocious 14 year-old Brooklyn (Joey King) move in with him, he’s been a loyal employee at the steel factory he’s worked at for 30 some years and he’s always gotten along with his two best friends there, Willie (Morgan Freeman) and Albert (Alan Arkin). Thus, once he gets a letter from his bank saying his house payment has tripled and has a meeting with the equally uncaring manager at his local branch, he’s understandable upset. Knowing that, it should likewise come at no surprise that he’s especially ticked once he discovers that his employer has been bought in a corporate merger, is moving all manufacturing operations to Vietnam and won’t be paying out his, Wilile’s or Alan’s pensions.

Then, he gets caught in the middle of a robbery at his bank and gets an idea: To get revenge on the people robbing them, why now rob the bank with his two best friends in tow for the ride? 

While it takes some convincing at first, Joe is eventually able to convince Willie and Alan to come along for the ride after getting some intel from his ex son-in-law (Peter Serafinowicz), who hooks him up with Jesus (John Ortiz), their bank robbing 101 master. So, what happens when three senior citizens – one of whom is making Annie (Anne-Margret) very hot to trot – get together and decide to pull off a million dollar robbery?
The answer awaits you at the local cineplex. 

WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST? Fans of the lead cast members; people who enjoy self-aware comedies; anyone who’s never seen the 1979 original and thus won’t be comparing the two films nonstop; anyone who likes a film that has a bit of bounce and energy in playing to its strengths

WHO WON’T (OR SHOULDN’T) LIKE THIS MOVIE? People who wear weary of Alzheimer’s-related jokes; those who have senior family members they don’t communicate with; those who feel the film is restricted by its PG-13 rating

SO, IS IT GOOD, BAD OR ABSOLUTELY AWFUL? A film that one could essentially describe as Grumpy Old Men meets Ocean’s 11 (minus about 7 key players in the mix), Going in Style is a solid comedy that delivers what you expect in effective and entertaining fashion.

Whereas Caine is great is the solid straight man who is trying to do the wrong thing for all the right reasons, Freeman and Arkin shine by taking all the best comedic lines throughout the film. Save for Keenan Thompson throwing out some admirable zingers as a grocery store manager, Arkin and Freeman land all their comedic punches with self-effacing humor that not only is fitting, but genuinely funny. 

In many circumstances, the octogenarian-fueled humor could wear extremely thin in the wrong hands (Christopher Lloyd’s character has both humorous highs and lows in terms of enjoyment), but Caine and co. excel quite well under the direction of Zach Braff, who likely did the best thing a director can do with them: Stay out of their capable hands, offer a few notes where necessary and waste no on-screen time with needless exposition of a fairly simple story. He lets things unfold with a snappy yet smart efficiency and the end result proves itself to be a success. 

A testament to the idea of there being no small parts in a film, the supporting players like Siobhan Fallon Hogan as an amorous waitress, Matt Dillon as a not-so-astute FBI agent and the aforementioned Thompson add comedic style to Going in Style. There’s something to be said, however, for the great rapport the three lead actors share, which makes their on-screen friendship and roles and the way everything fits together in terms of making the cast’s actions make plausible sense. You you understand these characters, you know these characters and most importantly, you like these characters. Those three factors help Going in Style enjoyable no matter how old you are.