1979’s Going in Style starred George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg as three older gentlemen who decide to rob a bank to live out the rest of their lives in style. It was a sweet, innocent and cute film that had some laughs mostly due to the three stars and Martin Brest’s witty script and direction. Martin Brest would go on to direct much harder fare with films like Beverly Hills Cop and one of my favorites Midnight Run. So Zach Braff decided the original needed an update, I guess. He has directed the remake from a script by Theodore Melfi based off of the original story by Edward Cannon.
In 2017’s Going in Style Joe (Michael Caine), Willie (Morgan Freeman) and Albert (Alan Arkin) all are facing money problems and of course, the bank is to blame as well as their former employer. Their former employer is going belly-up and liquidating their pensions to pay off the debt of the company with the full assistance of the bank. They seek assistance from younger fellows who may or may not be in the bank robbing business, but everything is pretty much based for laughs. Did we need another remake of a better original film? No. Is this remake worth your time? We will see.
First off, the acting is efficient enough. The three leads are legends and can pretty much do this in their sleep. Caine, Freeman and Arkin are all fun to watch and do what they are so great at doing to entertain people. As a bonus, we get to see the lovely Ann-Margaret as a cashier at the local food market who has the hots for Albert. There are a number of laughs to be had, but overall the film turns a little too serious and the once good nature of this film wears off in the final act. The three leads have great chemistry, however, and this is what keeps the film lite and frothy, for the most part. There is nothing in this film that will curdle your blood, so to speak.
There are some supporting characters which are actually quite fun to watch, though. John Ortiz plays Jesus a shady pet store owner. Pete Serafino is Murphy, the former son-in-law of Joe and the father of a lovely and happy young girl, Brooklyn (Joey King). Brooklyn and Joe have a wonderful grandfather and granddaughter relationship which was very sweet. Christopher Lloyd shows up periodically as the absent minded friend of the three leads and it is good to see he is still able to find roles. I would love to see Christopher Lloyd play something other than his nutty professor act from the Back to the Future films and Taxi show. Matt Dillon is largely wasted as the FBI agent investigating the robbery.
As for this version of Going in Style, it is a harmless, generic, hodge-podge that is not breaking any new ground or saying anything new. There are a few “old fart” jokes that seem to be standard for any film with older characters but there is nothing here that is so bad you will head for the hills. Going in Style is an amiable and good natured film that succeeds more than it fails but you could probably watch the original and be better served. I wished the writing had been stronger and had a bit more whimsically humorous, but overall it was hard to dislike this version of Going in Style. It is nowhere close to being a great film, mind you. But there is enough going for it that most will enjoy it for what it is. Mostly enjoyable, but forgettable.
Going in Style – *** out of 5
Going in Style – Rated PG-13 for language, sexual innuendo and violence
Going in Style – Run Time is 97 minutes
Going in Style is now available on DVD, On Demand and paid subscription services