“Going in Style” (2017) Review

What do you get when you cross Tower Heist, that guy from Scrubs, and three Best Supporting Actor Oscar winners?  The answer is: something that should be amazing, but sucks in execution.

Going in Style (2017) is directed by Zach Braff and written by Theodore Melfi.  Stars-Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin, Matt Dillion, Christopher Lloyd, Joey King, and Ann-Margaret.  Premise-After losing their pensions because of “generic Evil Corporation #9001,” three retirees decide to rob a bank to get their money back.

Apparently this movie is a remake of the 1979 Martin Brest film of the same name.  Whatever.  Either way, this movie is underwhelming.  Allow me to weep for the crappy few weeks we’ve had in film.  At this point, all I can hope for is entertainment without the stupidity or half-heartedness (this is why I chose Going in Style to review).  The actors know they aren’t winning any Oscars for this movie, but at the very least they could provide some decent humor.  Alright, alright.  Let’s get down to business.

If you are 90% of humanity, then you are only interested because of the ensemble cast (as if they alone can save this crap script).  To their credit, Freeman, Caine, and Arkin work really well off each other.  No one in this movie delivers laugh-out-loud jokes, but these guys are at least funny.  That cannot be said for the supporting cast, who are either one-note clichés, pitiful cameos, or annoying stereotypes (poor Christopher Lloyd).

Despite being 90 minutes long, Going in Style is as slow as a 70 year old man taking a piss.  If you giggled (or groaned, it doesn’t matter) at that rather offensive joke, then you will have gained the maximum amount of laughs Going in Style will give you.  If you watch the movie on DVD, take a shot every time a joke boils down to “ha ha, old people!”  By the halfway point, you’ll be more drunk than Melfi was when he wrote the screenplay.  Not to hate on the guy, but the fact that the writer of Hidden Figures (a movie about breaking stereotypes and preaching against prejudice) followed it up with a comedy built on stereotypes and a fair amount of racist jokes is hilarious.

I’d be nicer to the movie if it had an original bone in its body.  Aside from being an unnecessary remake, the plot is stolen from Tower Heist and Hell or High Water: the former is funnier, and the latter is more realistic.  Going in Style tries to be a hybrid of sympathetic drama and causal comedy.  Sadly, the drama is manufactured and the humor is lazy.  The climax acts all smart and emotional, but it’s actually very stupid and clichéd.  That sums up the movie perfectly, stupid and clichéd.

Despite all that I have said, there is an audience for this movie.  I know this because the 50+ year old people in my auditorium were having a great time (albeit extremely loud and obnoxiously).  If you can make it past the clichés and poor pacing (provided you are not a millennial), then you might enjoy yourself.  And hey, my experience wasn’t all bad; I discovered that my theater has some dang good sweet tea.  Going in Style gets Guy’s Guru Grade of a C-.

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