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Going in Style – When Grumpy Old Men pull an Italian Job

Written by Theodore Melfi

Directed by Zach Braff

Remakes are always hit or miss these days, but the classic capers seem to do the best. Movies like Ocean’s 11 or Dirty Rotten Scoundrels cash in on that excellent formula of crime and comedy multiple times. Warner Bros. finds success with this remake of Martin Brest’s classic about three senior citizens and their plan for a bank heist. Going in Style maintains all the fun of the original while updating the film for modern audiences, creating a cliché yet enjoyable 90 minutes of entertainment.

Unlike other capers, however, this film also wins because of the source material and theme: senior citizens. Comedies often find success with the elderly participating in juvenile behavior. The Bucket List or Out to Sea – these films simultaneously mock aging while also showing that older people are no different than their younger counterparts. Freeman, Caine, and Arkin pull off this act with the same flair as Burns, Carney, and Strasberg did almost 40 years earlier. Endless bickering about life experience, geriatric issues during physical deeds, and of course “grandpa” acting like a child, this approach remains comedy gold.

The story is as good as the original, if not better. While Brest’s classic was about three senior citizens who were bored, Braff and Melfi’s version adds more depth as the three friends now need the money because of corrupt corporations and banks. This relevance, given today’s economic issues, makes their criminal behavior more sympathetic and relatable. Also, without spoiling too much, this movie is far lighter than the original when it comes to the fates of various characters.

The movie wasn’t without its flaws, even if the good outweighed them. Occasionally some lines felt forced coming from the actors. The editing and cuts felt amateurish; more like I was watching a TV-special or a 1980s comedy at times. There was also a supporting storyline involving Peter Serafinowicz that felt tacked on, and could have been cut. Overall, though, these were minor criticisms in what was otherwise solid fun.

If you’re a fan of remade capers, of senior citizens behaving badly, or just want something like Grumpy Old Men meets the Italian Job, then this movie is for you. Zach Braff’s directing is fun while Melfi’s script brings more depth and relevance. Caine, Freeman, and Arkin pull off great comedy that also warms the heart with its humanity. Add in a hilarious supporting cast and this film makes for a perfect afternoon of entertainment.

This remake earns 4 out of 5 pension checks from me.

Going in Style will be released nationwide on April 7th, 2017.

About Brook H. (53 Articles)
Generalist, polymath, jack-of-all-trades... Brook has studied way too many subjects. With degrees in Human Behavior and Psychology, he has also majored in computers, business, and law and worked in administration, theater, security, 911/dispatch, and human services. Brook currently resides outside Baltimore where he tries to balance hobbies, work, local politics, and children. He's a Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing advocate, major gamer (from table-top to computer), studies parapsychology, and is a Horror-movie buff).

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