Going In Style stars Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Arkin star as Joe, Willie, and and Albert, three best friends whose pension is dissolved after the company which employed them for 30 years goes through a merger. Joe is very close to his daughter and granddaughter, who live with him in order to save for his granddaughter’s schooling. Due to being suckered into rapidly adjusting mortgage repayments, Joe is faced with losing their home but decides that desperate times call for desperate measures: why don’t they rob a bank? Each of the men has their own reasons for going through with the heist: Joe wants to look after his family; Willie desperately wants to see his family, who live out of town, more often; and Albert, well, he just wants to get by. Figuring that at their advanced age, they have little to lose if they get caught, they set about planning the heist.
A feel-good concoction in every sense, it’s an improbable concept which is stripped of any edginess at script level, but is nonetheless given an injection of life by its world-class, Oscar-winning star performers. Caine, Freeman and Arkin are all fine, distinguished actors who probably could have phoned in their performances, but thankfully didn’t. Ann-Margret, as Arkin’s persistent love interest, proves that at age 75 she’s still got it, giving a performance that’s saucy as heck.
The three leads show a knack for slapstick humour, particularly in a set-piece in which they practise robbing a grocery store in preparation for the big heist. The dramatic scenes are written in a way which can best be described as “hoaky”, but Caine and Freeman can be relied upon to bring enough gravitas to the scene to elicit a pang of empathy for each of them. Their friendship is totally believable, and their banter is really enjoyable.
There’s not much flair in Braff’s direction, but one feels that in playing it safe he has given the three main actors room to have some fun and bring the audience along. By no means a masterpiece, it is the seasoned capabilities of Caine, Freeman, Arkin and Ann-Margret that propel Going In Style into an enjoyable little watch.