I’m a reasonably fit 22-year-old man, and this movie made me feel old. Going In Style is for the people who view a trip to the grocery store as an adventure. It’s lethargic, obsessed with perceived risk and wanders around without really saying anything. Basically, I felt like I was in a retirement home for an hour and a half.

    Zach Braff (yes, the one from Scrubs) was once seen as a promising indie darling that helmed Garden State. Now he’s making movies for his parents. I literally don’t understand how he stooped to this low, but I’ll admit the movie has a professional pace to it.

    What it doesn’t have is surprises, or an interesting plot. Joe (Michael Caine) witnesses a robbery at a local bank, which gives him an idea after his pension is canceled. Joining up with his fellow retirees Willie (Morgan Freeman) and Albert (Alan Arkin), whom also had their pensions canceled, the three make a plan to rob a bank.

    But first, they attempt to steal some food from a grocery store. And then do firearms practice along with yoga. Why? Who knows, I guess we needed a montage of old people looking out of shape.

    To their credit, Caine, Freeman and Arkin do good jobs here. They’re old pros asked to act out easy roles, and they give this movie the light touch it needs. You’ll spot a couple “where are they now?” level castings here: FBI man Matt Dillion, a lusty Ann-Margret, and a disturbingly disheveled Chistopher Lloyd. It’s good to see all these people are still alive and willing to act in B-level material.

    The problem is the movie has too light of a touch, to the point where there isn’t anything to care about. The script undercuts its own tension when the characters muse that getting caught might actually be preferable to life on the outside. In prison, they’ll get three hot meals and free healthcare. At that rate, we should be seeing a movie about three guys that want to go to prison. But that would be a too dark, too freaky for the intended audience here.

    Then there’s the problem of when they actually rob the bank. You’d think that would be the climax of Going in Style, but it isn’t. After the three men fumble through their job, the film sort of wanders around the aftermath. Sometimes dipping into characters lives, other times shrugging at the obligatory investigation into their crimes. On a side note, Matt Dillon looks really tired of doing garbage roles like this.

    For some reason, we get to see the set-up to their plan after they already act it out. It’s treated like a big revelation, a real hoodwink over those dumb FBI agents. Except now that it already happened, why would I care about how it was done? There’s a fine display of how to tell a story in the exact opposite way it needs to be told.

    Does that mean Braff was already running out of scenes to throw in? Considering the original was a shade over an hour and a half, and actually involved (SPOILER TO A VERY OLD MOVIE) the characters going to prison and/or dying, I would say that’s concerning. None of that happens here, but it’s still just as long and with no emotional journey to watch the characters go through. 

    I don’t issue with having the old geezers getting away with their crime. The way the picture sets it up (getting even with the rich), I wanted to see it happen. But the last thirty minutes of this movie border on old men giving each other lethargic high fives, or something worse if your mind lets you go there. They congratulate and snicker and get away with everything. Done once, it’s amusing. Twice, you nod like you get it already. By the third time I was waiting for this very short experience (96 minutes) to be over. But this film just wouldn’t croak already.

    Perhaps a much more interesting movie would’ve been called Going Out In Style, about three old men that want to commit the most brazen heist ever that will definitely get them killed. Could it have happened? I doubt it. But give me batty crazy over boring and traditional any day.

Post-Script: Somehow, there were only young people present at this 10:15 P.M. showing. I guess we all wanted to find out what grandpa was capable of.

Published by Jagger Czajka