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Film review: Going in Style – Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin in clumsy heist comedy

Director Zach Braff can’t prevent a stellar cast from looking stupid as the story of cash-desperate seniors resorting to robbery rolls out cliché ageist jokes

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 May, 2017, 7:03am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 May, 2017, 11:58am

2/5 stars

Going in Style is a good natured movie that takes aim at the right targets: sleazy bankers, manipulative mortgage brokers, and unfeeling corporations. It’s unfortunate that the amiable seniors comedy, which is loosely based on the same story as the 1979 movie of the same name, veers clumsily between ridiculous and ludicrous.

Retiree Joe’s (Michael Caine) mortgage payments suddenly increase because his bank sold him a shady deal, and he’s a month away from losing his house. Then the manufacturing company he used to work for with friends Willie (Morgan Freeman) and Albert (Alan Arkin) stops paying their pensions. When Joe’s caught up in a bank heist, he realises that a similar robbery could solve their financial problems.

The venerable acting trio seems to be having a great time in front of the cameras, as do screen legend Ann-Margret (as a feisty supermarket checkout lady) and Christopher Lloyd (Doc from Back to the Future) in supporting roles. But the gags are all painfully predictable, and some of the pratfalls demean such a distinguished cast.

Going in Style’s Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin on ageing as actors

Although it intends to show old folks in a positive light, most of the jokes revolve around them looking stupid at worst, and creaky at best. Director Zach Braff (Garden State) aims for a fluffy lightweight comedy, and tries hard to make it as innocuous as possible. But the sight of masked men menacing people with weapons is not funny, even if we know the perpetrators are only pleasant old guys out for justice.

The oddest thing about Going in Style is that its portrayal of New York is distinctly mid-eighties rather than 2017, and there doesn’t seem to be any narrative reason for this.

Going in Style opens on May 4

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