Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Brief Thoughts on Going in Style.

This weekend sees the release of Going in Style, a caper comedy starring Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Arkin as three elderly men who attempt to rob a bank, after the company they work for freezes pension payments. The film is a remake of a 1979 film from Martin Brest, with Garden State's Zach Braff taking over for this update. I should make it known very quickly that I have not seen the original film, and I came into this movie fresh, so I won't be comparing this film to the original at any point. That being said, how does the remake itself hold up?

Easily the best quality of Going in Style comes from the central trio of would-be bank robbers, hardly surprising given the impressive pedigree behind the three of them. With Caine as the mastermind of the trio, Freeman the heart and soul, and Arkin the logic and sarcasm, each of the selected cast members share an infectious and thoroughly riotous chemistry as keen and sharp as The Marx Brothers. The film does well at establishing the central bonds and fine-tuning all the razor sharp interplay tossed between them, and their heists - when finally kicking off - are quite entertaining to see play out, with the aforementioned Braff taking cues from the absurdity of his days of Scrubs in regards to their actions, leading to some genuinely gut-busting fits of laughter.

However, the movie does suffer when the three are separated at any point, spreading time out to address the personal lives and struggles that they each face, and while these stretches aren't bad by any means, they still can't help but feel stale and worn as well, at times even moving along at sluggish speed and upsetting the momentum. The supporting cast also proves to be something of a mixed bag, with solid support lent by the likes of John Ortiz, and a funny, if bizarre turn from Christopher Lloyd as a lodge-buddy of the main three, but also wasted ones like Ann Margaret, and a seriously underused Matt Dillon as an FBI agent who occasionally shows up to play foil.

All in all, Going in Style wasn't all that memorable an experience for me. It's certainly passable enough to give a rental, and more often than not earned some genuine laughs from me, but doesn't have much staying power beyond its initial entertainment value in the moment.

*** / *****

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