“GOING IN STYLE” My rating: C
97 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13
The story told in “Going in Style” — three disgruntled old codgers rob a bank — has the makings of a fine movie.
We know this because of the original “Going in Style” starring George Burns, Lee Strasberg and Art Carney. I saw it just once when it opened in 1979, but the film’s seamless blend of comedy and end-of-life seriousness has hung strong in my memory for nearly four decades.
Minutes after watching the new “Going in Style” its memory already is fading.
Which is a shame, given that it features three Oscar-winning actors — Michael Caine, Alan Arkin and Morgan Freeman — whose combined thespian power should be enough to power a battleship.
Oh, there are flashes of genuine emotion here, but they are fleeting, buried under cheap laughs, grotesque improbabilities, and the jittery pacing of short-attention-span filmmaking.
Joe (Caine), Willie (Freeman) and Albert (Arkin) are Brooklyn neighbors and longtime workers at a steel plant. Retired for a decade, they’re still best buds.
But getting old isn’t for sissies. The bank is taking the house Joe shares with his daughter and granddaughter. Willie is dying of kidney disease. Albert is terminally grumpy.
The final blow comes when their old employer is bought by a European outfit that closes down all American operations and terminates the pension fund upon which our protagonists rely for their survival.
After 50 years of living honest American lives, the three are indignant at this turn of events. They decide to get even by robbing the bank overseeing the dismantling of the pension fund. That it’s the same institution foreclosing on Joe’s house only makes revenge that much sweeter. (more…)