Predictability isn’t the worst thing in the world, certainly, but it’s still a disappointment when it seems like there’s potential for more. The potential surely seems like it’s there for Going in Style, a remake of a 1979 film that starred George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg. For the 2017 version, audiences are getting an equally talented cast in Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin, with Zach Braff directing the whole thing. Despite what audiences might expect from that combination, though, Going in Style is a tame, predictable comedy that does offer some laughs, but little more.
After Joe (Caine) goes to the bank in an effort to find out why his home is being foreclosed upon, only to find himself in the middle of a bank robbery, then finds that the pension that he and his friends Willie (Freeman) and Al (Arkin) were relying on will be lost, Joe comes up with an idea: a heist of the same bank, which houses their pension funds. If they succeed, they’ll be set for the rest of their lives. If not, they feel they have little left to lose.
It would be hard to completely muck up this film, mainly due to the talents of the central trio. To the film’s credit, it’s willing to just let the three hang out at times, and they honestly seem like they’ve been friends for decades. They’re surrounded by a solid supporting cast, most notably Ann-Margret as a love interest for Al and Christopher Lloyd as an eccentric old man who provides some groan-worthy laughs. The film also tries to make sure the audience knows that these men may be older, but they’re not necessarily old, with some stereotypical jokes for the genre about them smoking pot and having sex (thankfully, with no Viagra mentions!).
Still, given Braff’s previous work, it’s surprising just how tame this is. Not that Braff is the edgiest director alive or anything, but there’s a gloss to this film that makes Braff feel more like a hired gun than he did with Garden State or Wish I Was Here. The fault may lie more with screenwriter Theodore Melfi, whose previous work lines up with how this film progresses. But it’s still a bit of a disappointment. Ultimately, Going in Style falls a bit flat.