(US - 2017)
Directed by Zach Braff. Written by Theodore Melfi. Cast: Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin, Christopher Lloyd, Matt Dillon, Ann-Margret, John Ortiz, Peter Serafinowicz, Joey King, Kenan Thompson, Josh Pais, Maria Dizzia, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Melanie Nichols-King, Ashley Aufderheide. (PG-13, 96 mins)
1979's GOING IN STYLE was sold as a wacky comedy about a trio of elderly retirees robbing a bank in Groucho Marx disguises. But the stick-up was only a small part of the story, which primarily focused on the three aging widowers (George Burns as Joe, Art Carney as Al, and Lee Strasberg as Willie) looking for something to alleviate the boredom, the loneliness, and the depression of getting old and spending their days sitting in the park feeding the pigeons. The breakthrough film for 28-year-old writer/director Martin Brest (who would go on to make BEVERLY HILLS COP, MIDNIGHT RUN, SCENT OF A WOMAN, and the career-ending GIGLI), GOING IN STYLE was a comedy but a dark and character-driven one, with poignant and heartfelt observations about growing old, living with regrets, and knowing you don't have a lot of time left. It wasn't a feel-good movie. Hell, Al and Willie both die, and Joe not only gets nabbed, but he's in prison at the end. Nearly 40 years later, GOING IN STYLE gets the remake treatment, appropriately cast with three living legends--Michael Caine as Joe, Alan Arkin as Al, and Morgan Freeman as Willie--but the results aren't the same. GOING IN STYLE '17 is perfectly acceptable in a dumb and unchallenging kind of way. It's less a story than it is a focus group-approved checklist of cliches, tropes, and contrivances. This new take is a GOING IN STYLE that's a mash-up of GRUMPY OLD MEN, THE BUCKET LIST, and HORRIBLE BOSSES. It's all about the bank robbery, now an intricately-planned heist with alibis, decoys, a getaway vehicle, and an ethnic accomplice in Jesus (John Ortiz), a Latino version of Jamie Foxx's Motherfucker Jones from HORRIBLE BOSSES, There's no depth to GOING IN STYLE '17. The humor is limited primarily to "It's funny because they're old!" jokes like a motorized scooter chase, Joe and Willie smoking weed and getting the munchies, and Al rediscovering the long-dormant sexual dynamo within after hooking up with still-foxy grocery clerk Annie (Ann-Margret).
|Burns, Strasberg, and Carney in
the original 1979 version.