When we watch the trailer for Going In Style, we think to ourselves, “Haven’t they made this film a hundred times before?…And hasn’t Morgan Freeman been in all of them??”–even though we secretly enjoy each and every one because who doesn’t love watching old guys stick it to the man? Fortunately for this movie, it’s a remake of the popular 1979 film starring three greats: George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strasberg, so it’s grounded in success from the start.
Nearly 40 years later, it’s remade with three different greats: Michael Caine, Alan Arkin, and Freeman. The three friends are getting their pensions taken away, so they decide to rob a bank. They realize that even if they fail, they will go to jail, receiving an arguably better lifestyle than the ones they’re currently living.
The three leads are great with what they’re given. They deliver their jokes better than anyone else could. The problem is, there isn’t a whole lot to deliver. At least nothing big. At times it feels as if the humor almost solely comes from the charisma and charm of the actors themselves, or from their observations, criticisms, and even acquiescence with the culture that’s been forced upon them.
Not only does the comedy feel a little safe, but there aren’t too many risks taken deeper in the script either. Things seem to come a bit too easy for everyone in the story, creating a lack of suspense–give or take a couple of small moments. One, in particular, involving a little girl. You’ll know it when you see it.
But the film isn’t all about comedy. It takes some great turns along the way that help make it thoroughly enjoyable. So much so that you end up laughing more out of happiness, even if it never quite borders on hysterical.
While Going In Style isn’t terribly nuanced, it’s a fun movie that gives us a satisfying payoff in the end, with three stars who continue to show us they’ve still got it.