Out this week in cinemas is Going In Style, starring Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Arkin with Zach Braff (Garden State) in the director’s chair. Going In Style is a comedic heist film that follows Joe (Caine), Willie (Freeman) and Albert (Arkin) who are dealing with the loss of their pensions due to their company being bought out. On top of this Joe is close to losing his house and this will put not only him but his daughter and granddaughter out on the street. The lads don’t know what to do until Joe comes up with an idea inspired by a recent event in his life, they should rob a bank to retrieve the money they believe they are owed and so hilarity ensues.
I’m not going to beat around the bush, which is something Going In Style should have done, this film is unabashedly unimpressive. There is nothing original about this movie, the comedy is almost a complete misfire across the board, the characters are utterly forgettable, and the performances feel entirely phoned in. Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Arkin are outstanding actors, and I’ve never seen them so asleep at the wheel. The supporting cast adds more colour to the film thankfully with notable scenes from Kenan Thompson and Ann-Margaret who are visibly enjoying themselves in the movie. Sadly the leads just aren’t giving their all, and I have a theory about this if you’ll indulge me.
I wholeheartedly believe that Freeman has now created a genre that he has relegated himself to and it’s a genre all about the OAP’s and how they can still keep up with the young people. In my eyes, it’s a deeply insulting genre of film that has been growing in the last few years. This may be due to many screen legends now entering their later years, but I’d wish it was a topic that was treated with better care.
If there are any redeeming elements, they are at the core of the film’s story. The moments where Joe is dealing with his family issues are genuine, and there is a sense of tension when Willie has to figure out what he’s going to do about his failing health; unfortunately, they are fleeting moments giving way to poorly executed dementia jokes provided by Christopher Lloyd who gives an infuriatingly one-dimensional performance.
In the end Going In Style is harmless, unimaginative and safe which is incredibly disappointing when you have so many Oscar-winning actors in one film and a director like Zach Braff, who brought us the fantastic Garden State, behind the camera.