Going in Style: Oscar-Winning Trio Keep Things Entertaining in Otherwise Forgettable Comedy Heist Flick
As a remake of a fairly obscure 1979 movie of the same name, the 2017 take on a story of three senior citizens who decide to rob a bank, plays out like a weird but, relatively effective mix of Grumpy Old Men and Ocean’s Eleven. While certainly not groundbreaking in any shape or form, there’s still a lot to love in Zach Braff’s latest directorial effort, thanks to the talent and natural charisma of its three leads.
Set in Brooklyn, the story follows Joe Harding (Caine), Willie Davis (Freeman) and Albert Garner (Arkin); three lifelong friends who have spent over thirty years working together at a local steel company. Pushing eighty, the three friends soon receive a devastating financial blow when they learn that their pensions will be suspended and ultimately erased due to the company’s relocation to Vietnam; a decision which leaves the three already struggling retirees with absolutely nothing.
Without the pension to pay his mortgage, Joe is at a serious risk of losing his home which he shares with his newly-divorced daughter and granddaughter, while Willie – who has been roommates with Albert for the past twenty-five years – is in a desperate need of a kidney transplant which his insurance, of course, won’t be able to cover. After witnessing a successful bank robbery one day, Joe soon gets inspired by the crazy idea of conducting his very own heist against the very same bank that’s taken his pension away. Bringing Willie and Al into the mix, the trio soon begin the preparations for their mission which, if executed as per their plan, will bring an end to their financial worries for good.
Former Scrubs star, Braff keeps the silly and often wacky comedic energy very much alive throughout the running minutes. The bouncy pace of the story also manages to draw in a largely likable and a crowd-pleasing effect with the inclusion of an eclectic soundtrack adding to the story’s upbeat atmosphere. However, while the original had the courage to lean towards a slightly darker side, the 2017 version plays it safe by keeping its main focus on the comedy with very little emphasis given to the development of a real heist caper.
Fortunately, the onscreen chemistry between three acting veterans pays off with the three Oscar-winners bringing their natural talent, presence and undeniable charm to the table, keeping things entertaining, even if it is largely forgettable.