You know you have been around too long when you begin to count how many years you have left before you die of old age. That’s the basic premise of Going In Style. Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin are all in their early 80s in real life. So when they guess, they probably have 7-8 good years left, they probably aren’t joking. Zach Braff directs this film, his second film in the director’s chair, first being Wish I Was Here, a film that opened to mixed reviews. This time around, he has three legendary actors to work with…and this effort is likely worse than his first one.
Going in Style is a story about 3 elderly men who get screwed out of the most reliable form of income for retirees…pension, and all of a sudden, they are broke at the age of 80. After Joe (Caine) gets a bad loan from the bank, he arguably shouldn’t have agreed to in the first place (because you know…he’s 80, how does he plan on paying off a 30-year loan?), he is now in danger of losing his home to the big evil bank. So after witnessing a robbery and gets screwed outta their pensions, Joe comes up with the idea of robbing a bank to get their money back. The problem with this is that they are about 50 years older than the last people who robbed the bank and they only have 4 good kidneys between the three of them.
The film tries to present a Robin Hood like mentality using an ‘us vs the banks/big business’ story, but the conflict is so lazy, it is pretty hard to feel sorry for any of these guys. The motivation behind the premise is pretty weak and emotionally manipulating. Joe wants to rob the bank to save his home for his granddaughter, Willie (Freeman) is dying and just wants to see his family one last time, and Albert (Arkin) doesn’t have any real motivation at all, he just eventually caves to peer pressure.
One thing that bothers me is how the film wants you to believe that the three old men are completely justified in robbing the bank and somehow shouldn’t face any consequences because they weren’t in the wrong. They even have a witness to the robbery lie to police because she believes that the Willie (someone they don’t know BTW) is a good person, and this is considered to be the heartwarming ending to the movie. As if justifying felony armed robbery wasn’t in enough bad taste, you put Christopher Lloyd in the film to be somewhere between a mental patient and a victim of Alzheimer’s whom comedic range is not being a functioning human being. I can’t imagine the older audience finding too much humor in this subject matter.
Considering how close to death these actors are in real life, they aren’t doing their legacy any favors by being in movies like this. Going In Style is a half-assed revenge tale of a bunch of bitter old man who really doesn’t have anyone but themselves to blame. The film is so bad, it’s no wonder the studio delayed it for a year. The only thing stopping me from giving it my worst rating is an amusing scene where our actors utterly fail to steal groceries at the local mart. Outside of that Going In Style is another lazy Hollywood example of them thinking name actors outweigh and a bad story.