Movie Review: ‘Style’ has a lot ‘Going’ for it
The delightful comedy “Going in Style” might sound terribly derivative on paper, but thanks to the Oscar-winning trio of Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin, it exudes style and substance in its depiction of felonious big banks and the “no bailout” for regular Joes. Or in this case, Albert (Arkin), Willie (Freeman) and, yes, Joe (Caine).
The movie follows the three retired steelworkers — and lifelong BFFs — robbed of their pensions. Desperate to pay their mortgages and support their families, they decide to rob Williamsburg Savings Bank, the institution that stole their money. Joe floats the idea to his mates after he is a witness in the bank heist that opens the film.
Directed by Zach Braff (“Wish I Was Here” and “Garden State”) from a script by Theodore Melfi, the movie is one that you can take your grandparents to see. You won’t have to block their ears or shade their eyes. Like Melfi’s “Hidden Figures,” this movie takes a complicated and contemptuous concept and sanitizes it for the masses.
“Going in Style,” has a lot, well, going for it, namely its cast. In addition to the A-list trio, Ann-Margret (“Grumpy Old Men”) shows up as a sexy ginger-haired granny with eyes for one of the old dogs. John Ortiz (“Silver Linings Playbook”) plays the criminal mastermind who abets our vengeful codgers. Matt Dillon (TV’s “Wayward Pines”) plays a suspicious FBI agent. As Joe’s granddaughter, Joey King (“White House Down”) shares genuine warmth with Caine. Siobhan Fallon Hogan plays diner waitress Mitzi with sass and brass. Disappointingly, Christopher Lloyd barely registers other than “Hey, that’s Doc Brown from ‘Back to the Future.’” Lloyd’s Milton is also the stereotypical confused geezer character. It leaves a bad taste in a movie that otherwise didn’t cop to the low-hanging fruit of Viagra and Geritol gags. Instead, Braff seems to have just turned his camera on his three stars and let them have at it.
Clad in black suits and Rat Pack masks, these geriatric bank robbers commit a crime, but their motives are pure. Screw the people who are screwing you. Who can’t relate? You can’t help but root for them.
Like its fine actors, “Going in Style” (a remake of the 1979 comedy that starred George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg) gets better with age. It’s one of those movies where the last act is far superior to the beginning, making the payoff worth the investment.
— Dana Barbuto may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @dbarbuto_Ledger.
“Going in Style”
Cast Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin, Ann-Margret, Joey King, Matt Dillon and John Ortiz.
(PG for language and some suggestive material.)