Movie Review: Going In Style Goes Nowhere

SINGAPORE: You don’t get any better in terms of award-winning acting pedigree when you put Michael Caine, Alan Arkin and Morgan Freeman in a film together. And what did director Zack Braff do with his chance? Not much.

The trio headline this uneven, glorified-sitcom remake of the genial 1979 sleeper hit Going In Style. Filling in for the original’s George Burns, Lee Strasberg and Art Carney, Caine, Freeman and Arkin play senior citizen pals who, after losing their hard-earned pension funds, decide they have had enough of being screwed over. They agree that the best revenge against a system that protects the corrupt and punishes hard-working, blue collar workers is to rob a bank. Enter the rote and expected septuagenarian hijinks.

Now this would be the perfect excuse to watch a bunch of established acting veterans cut loose and have some laid-back fun in their twilight years, but Going in Style is strangely lackluster. What could have been an interesting commentary on the plight of senior citizens gives way to sophomoric jokes, broad gags and blatantly manufactured sentiment.

This reviewer loves her fair share of breezy geezer heist comedies, even when gift-wrapped with sentiment. But Braff’s seemingly indifferent approach strips his A-list cast’s performance of all pathos, weight and emotional honesty. Turns out, even great actors can elevate a dismal script only so much.

It has to be noted that it is wonderful how 79-year-old Freeman, 84-year-old Caine and 83-year-old Arkin are still working actors. And boy do they have the right to make mindless entertainment outside their Oscar-bait dramas. But it really is a shame when the chemistry and combined charm of three beloved legends are dimmed by a film determined to play it so safe. What a sweet and satisfying movie Going in Style could have been.

Genevieve Loh's rating: 2.5/5

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