Going in Style

 

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Three old pros enliven a whiff of criminal whimsy.

 

  Going in Style

Running for gold: Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin

 

Joe, Willie and Albert aren’t exactly going anywhere, but they’re certainly on the way out. After working at the same factory for decades, their pensions have been ‘frozen,’ leaving them virtually destitute. Joe (Michael Caine, 84) is also about to lose his house, while Willie (Morgan Freeman, 79) is told by his doctor that unless he gets a new kidney he doesn’t have long for this world. Only the perpetually splenetic Albert (Alan Arkin, 83) seems to coast by on bile, while fending off the attentions of the sexy and beautiful Annie (Ann-Margret). Then Joe finds himself a bystander at a bank robbery and has a light bulb moment. If he, Willie and Albert can pull off a similar heist, then a couple of million should solve all their problems. After all, Joe reasons, “what have we got to lose?”

 

A comedy about mortality is a hard act to pull off, but with actors of the calibre of Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin playing to their strengths, old age has seldom seemed such fun. Caine is on particularly good form, switching from pathetic imbecile to a hard man with effortless skill. And Arkin, who has cornered the market in ageing curmudgeons, has a way with a mediocre gag. Actually, there are a lot of chuckles to go round, with the dry repartee of the three leads kicking hard against the cloying music and sentimental riffs of the narrative.

 

Of course, it’s all highly improbable but there are still some aces up the screenplay’s sleeve. It should be pointed out that the latter is by Theodore Melfi, he who wrote and directed the touching and uplifting Hidden Figures, for which he was short-listed for an Oscar. His new film is actually an adaptation of the 1971 comedy of the same name written and directed by Michael Brest, which starred George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg. Here, Zach Braff takes the directorial reins and gives the film a genial bounce, while a strong supporting cast (John Ortiz, Joey King, Matt Dillon, Siobhan Fallon Hogan) provides lashings of colour. And the film’s a good deal more engaging than last year’s Golden Years, which also featured pensioners resorting to bank robbery.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin, Ann-Margret, John Ortiz, Peter Serafinowicz, Joey King, Kenan Thompson, Matt Dillon, Christopher Lloyd, Josh Pais, Maria Dizzia, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Ashley Aufderheide, Jeremy Shinder, Annabelle Chow.

 

Dir Zach Braff, Pro Donald De Line, Screenplay Theodore Melfi, Ph Rodney Charters, Pro Des Anne Ross, Ed Myron I. Kerstein, Music Rob Simonsen, Costumes Gary Jones.

 

New Line Cinema/Village Roadshow Pictures-Warner Bros.

96 mins. USA. 2017. Rel: 7 April 2017. Cert. 12A.