By Casey Campbell
Age is just a number, as made clear in Zach Braff’s new heist comedy Going in Style, which features Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Arkin. The trio—the youngest of which is 79—delivers fantastic chemistry, humorous physical comedy, and action with ease, despite their ages.
Retired friends Joe (Caine), Willie (Freeman), and Albert (Arkin) live peacefully after working most of their lives at the same company. After the company they worked for ships out to another country, their pensions are ended, and they are left without money. Too old to get other jobs, the three decide to rob the bank that played a part in freshly screwing them over.
While playfully utilizing the leads ages for the sake of comedy, the film also deals heavily with mortality. It was surprisingly jarring to see these men discuss how long they had left to live. Death is the most definite thing in life, yet seeing legends discuss it packed the film with a more emotional heft. The scene in question can be contextualized by the characters discussing how much money they would need to steal. Joe asked Willie and Albert how long they thought they had left so that they could take only so much of their pension that they would have been receiving. But, you quickly remember that this is a comedy when realizing both Caine and Freeman’s characters were high from a previous scene.
Alan Arkin is perfect in his role of Albert, an old man who couldn’t care less about anything. He easily steals every scene he’s in and came through with some of the biggest laughs. His detached nature lends well to the “all or nothing” quality of the mission. The men are happily willing to go to jail, where they figure they can get better housing and healthcare than on the outside.
Going in Style presented nothing new, but what it had was good enough. This may be due to it being a remake of a 1979 film of the same name. The direction was nothing special, which is surprising for Braff based on his earlier work like Garden State, and the score was obnoxious by being punchy and cartoonish.
The soundtrack, on the other hand, was great. Director Braff describes the song choices as “a mix of music that the characters might listen to.” Included are Dean Martin, Otis Redding, and Sam Cooke, as well as A Tribe Called Quest.
The core of the film is in the humorous antics played out between the leads as they set up the heist. One scene involved Willie and Joe attempting their own low scale heist in a small supermarket. Their “escape” was hysterical.
Overall, the film succeeds at creating chemistry and sympathy for the leads. Over-sentimentality is used in some scenes, though not enough to dampen the experience. It’s funny, accessible, and harmless while containing discussion about our society and the treatment of elderly.
Overall Grade: C+
Originally published at Emertainment Monthly:
Buy here: Going in Style (2016) (BD) [Blu-ray]