Going in Style Review
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As the old saying goes, “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” And these days, it seems, are some pretty desperate times. So in director Zach Braff’s crime comedy remake, Going in Style, when three elderly men end up with their backs against the wall, they decide to act accordingly.

Going in Style follows three long-time friends who are pushed to do something completely unexpected. After the steel mill where they worked for decades is sold and their pensions are taken away, they’re left struggling to pay the bills. When Joe (Michael Caine) witnesses a robbery at his bank while he’s trying to keep his home out of foreclosure, it gives him an idea—one that he takes to his friends, Willie and Albert (Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin). And, together, they devise a plan to rob the bank that’s robbed them of their retirement.

This remake of the 1979 George Burns caper sets out to mix wild heist comedy with some serious social commentary about the dire circumstances that today’s senior citizens often find themselves facing. But it gets so caught up in the doom and gloom of the characters’ situations that it puts a damper on the fun.

Granted, the stars here couldn’t be much more lovable—or perfectly cast. Michael Caine has pulled plenty of Hollywood heists through the years, so he seems like the obvious choice for his role as the brains behind this elderly operation. Morgan Freeman is both charming and comical as the sweet, ailing grandfather who’s got nothing to lose. And Alan Arkin simply slips into his usual screen persona, yelling and insulting his way through most of his scenes. And, together, they make for a entertaining trio of bank-robbing old guys.

Unfortunately, though, the film spends too much time building the characters’ stories, focusing on the seriousness of Joe’s foreclosure drama, Willie’s kidney failure, and Al’s general crankiness. By the time the comic adventure begins—first with what must be the wackiest grocery store heist ever, then with the carefully orchestrated bank robbery—the whole thing has taken on such a melancholy tone that even the craziest moments are tinged with a hint of hopelessness. And while that may make the film’s point about the hardships that the elderly often face, it’s all just a little sad.

With its charming cast and their crazy bank-robbing adventures, Going in Style could have been a fun-filled comic crime caper. But it seems to try a little too hard to make a point—and the result is uneven and sometimes surprisingly gloomy.

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