Review: 3 reasons 'Going in Style' is a guilty pleasure
Posted April 10
THE BANK — Last weekend welcomed the release of a film that may have slipped under most people’s radar, “Going in Style.”
I’ve tried to talk to several people about the movie and the response I get is little more than, “What’s ‘Going in Style?' Is that a documentary about fashion?” It’s not about fashion, but it is an enjoyable 90 minutes at the theater.
The film stars three Hollywood heavyweights in the form of Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin as friends who have fallen on hard times in the twilight of their lives. The three old friends, "old" being the key word here, decide to turn their luck around by robbing a bank.
The movie is far from some of the phenomenal films these three Oscar winners have done in the past, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a guilty pleasure. At least that’s how I felt about it.
Here’s why “Going in Style” is actually worth giving a look:
I think everyone knew this was going to be the first thing laid out. With the likes of Freeman, Caine and Arkin, you knew you were going to get some great performances. Don’t expect the Michael Caine from “The Cider House Rules” or “The Prestige." And don’t plan on a Morgan Freeman from “The Shawshank Redemption” or “Glory.” You can, however, expect to see an Alan Arkin from “Little Miss Sunshine.”
But regardless, if these characters hearken back to earlier roles, it doesn’t matter because these three veterans seem to be having a genuinely good time.
Their chemistry and banter are infectious and you believe that these men care about each other and have been with each other through their ups and downs. Whatever the script is lacking, and it is at times, the core cast makes up for it in charm and wit.
Personally, I have a real soft spot for Arkin, and for me, he stole the show. I could watch that man make a cake from a box and I’d still love every minute of it.
The supporting cast does a fine job, but it’s Caine, Freeman and Arkin that make “Going in Style” really worth it.
There is one important thing for me to really enjoy a comedy, and it’s simple— it has to make me laugh. If I’m not laughing, I just don’t care. “Going in Style” made me laugh.
The film didn’t have me rolling in the aisle or in tears, but it did genuinely make me laugh out loud at times and that’s exactly what I wanted. I wouldn’t say this is the funniest movie I’ve seen in years, but the jokes were solid and mostly avoided the crude humor that I personally find lazy and unimaginative.
The jokes land because of the timing of the actors involved, but overall they were quite clever and fun. I will admit that the geriatric jokes started getting a little old and worn at times, but overall the self-deprecating humor worked for me and kept me smiling.
Director Zach Braff didn’t really break any new ground here, but he seemed to understand the material, and gave the actors the setups and freedom they needed to make the laughs land.
I’m a sucker for heist flicks
I love a good heist movie and that’s probably partially why I enjoyed this movie. I have no doubt that many of my counterparts will give “Going in Style” a really hard time for not being “smart” enough, for not taking advantage of the talented cast, and for not being innovative, but I don’t care. I had fun and I love watching a heist come together.
This movie’s reveal of the robbery doesn’t rise to the levels of “Ocean’s Eleven,” “Inside Man,” or “The Sting,” but it still kept me interested and it had me smiling as it all unfolded. I enjoyed Braff’s direction as we saw the plan come together, and the process the three friends used to take out the bank that had been taking advantage of them for so long.
“Going in Style” is not going to be the movie that everyone’s talking about and it’s far from the best thing you’re going to see this year. In fact, my guess is it will be largely forgotten, but not by me.
The film has flaws from start to finish and it leans too heavily on the “old man” jokes, but once the credits rolled, I’d had a good time. It’s a movie I’ll revisit again with friends to see their reaction that a by-the-numbers heist movie comedy still manages to give.
“Going in Style” is rated PG-13 for drug content, language and some suggestive material. I’d say the rating is a good one and is better for teenagers. I wouldn’t take little ones to go see it as it has a lot of adult themes and a bit of language.
John has grown up around movies and annoys friends and family with his movie facts and knowledge. John also has a passion for sports and pretty much anything awesome and it just so happens that these are the three things he writes about.