I saw Going In Style, the latest age-based comedy, and it wasn’t bad. Wasn’t great either though.
The comedy is about three guys, Joe, Bill, and Al, played by Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Arkin respectively, whose pension funds are cut by the bank that bought the steel factory they used to work for.
Struggling to pay their bills and angry at the bank, they decide to rob it to get back at the entity that screwed them over. They hope to use the money to enjoy their old age by spending it with their families instead of restarting their careers.
There’s a few jokes, but I wouldn’t exactly call the movie a comedy, more like a heist movie that’s masquerading as a comedy. I snorted at a few points, but nothing made me or the mostly elderly audience laugh out loud.
The heist portion of the movie is decent. Instead of life-or-death car chases or intense struggles with the bank’s defenses, the characters get distracted and make mistakes just like normal people. Evading the police after the heist is amazing in its own way, but don’t expect anything too flashy.
Their plan isn’t to steal as much money as possible, only to steal what they would’ve received from their pensions. The moral character of the three doesn’t permit them to steal more than that.
That’s where the movie really shines, character development. Each of the retired “young men” (they continually refer to each other as “young man” throughout the movie) has a subplot.
Joe’s ex-son-in-law, Murphy, is an absent father and Joe has been the father figure for Murphy’s daughter throughout her childhood. Joe tries to reinvolve Murphy in his daughter’s life as a replacement should Joe be arrested.
Bill is dealing with kidney failure, but hasn’t told anyone for a number of typical reasons that people keep their diseases private.
Al is a lifelong bachelor and has lived with Bill for the last 25 years. A woman his age shows interest in him, but he is reluctant to pursue a relationship with her.
By the end of the movie all the subplots are resolved in one way or another. I won’t spoil it, but the movie is a “comedy” so that might give you a clue.
The acting in the movie is excellent. The stars are great and the supporting cast are excellent as well. I wouldn’t have expected anything less from the three leads.
The movie isn’t bad, but it isn’t amazing either. Perhaps I missed some of the movie’s appeal as I’m 26 instead of 62. I doubt it though. Most of the audience was elderly and they seemed to enjoy it to the same degree that I did.
If you want to go see a light comedy/drama/heist flick staring some 80 year-olds, Going In Style is the right film for you. If you want something that’s more concretely in one genre, this isn’t the movie for you.