It’s hard to believe you could make a bad film with a talented trio of actors like Alan Arkin, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman, and to be fair, “Going in Style” isn’t really that bad. It’s just lackluster, predictable, mildly amusing and manipulative.
But if you don’t mind those things, hey, enjoy the show.
Willie (Morgan Freeman), Joe (Michael Caine) and Albert (Alan Arkin) are three longtime friends and co-workers who have just lost their pensions due to a company buyout. Each man has their own personal drama and losing their pension money does not help matters.
Joe — inspired by a bank robbery he witnessed a few days earlier — suggests to his buddies that they pull a heist. Joe is about to lose his home to the bank and Willie has medical problems. Albert, whose biggest problem is being pursued by an amorous shop clerk (Ann Margaret), is least interested in breaking the law. But eventually he comes around, otherwise there’d be no movie.
The trio hook up with Jesus (John Ortiz), a man with a shady past who teaches them the bank robbery tricks of the trade. It all plays out like you’d expect, unless you’re expecting “Dog Day Afternoon.”
Directed by Zach Braff, “Going in Style” is harmless and toothless. The movie goes after all your emotional buttons — laugh at Milton’s (Christopher Lloyd) silly antics, feel sad over Willie and Joe’s struggles, be outraged at the unfairness of the banks and big companies who disrespect the working man — but it feels like they’re trying to hard. Except for the comedy bits, where they’re not trying hard enough.
“Going in Style” is a remake of a 1979 film starring George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg. I haven’t seen the orignal but reading about it, it sounds like a much more interesting film. You might be better off renting that one now and waiting for this one to come out on home video.