Going in Style, the latest offering from Scrubs star-turned-director Zach Braff, is something of a puzzle – it manages to mix comedy, tragedy and action, but never quite decides which one it is.
While Braff has had success previously (notably with 2004 film Garden State), he may have not quite lived up to it here. Going in Style portrays the antics of three men (Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin) in their twilight years, who, upon learning that the company they work for is moving overseas and cancelling their pension funds, decide to rob a bank. Here, Braff presents us with a premise that is both hilarious but also rather improbable – three elderly men (one even gravely ill) facing the possibility of prison – and this is perhaps where the film falls down; an unlikely idea is stretched very thin, and the only thing that saves it is the film’s relative brevity.
One aspect of this film which is laudable is the way the men’s frailty is handled – especially Freeman’s character, with his desperation to see his children while also having to deal with his mortality – which allows for a poignancy to balance the otherwise relentless slapstick that fills the film (at one point, Caine and Freeman attempt to flee from a convenience-store robbery via mobility scooter.)
Yet, ultimately, the lack of any realism in the film rather spoils this effect. One other thing to note about the film is its casting – Caine, Freeman and Arkin prove charming, while a surprising cameo from Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future’s Doc Brown) provides some of the biggest laughs in the film. It is perhaps this ensemble that allow this film to keep moving, rather than its script or direction.
All in all, it should be said that this is a light-hearted comedy film, and should be viewed as such. The plot may be ludicrous and the delivery (by Braff) not quite there, but it keeps things moving, and thus doesn’t leave the viewer impatient to leave. Not the best comedy film in years, but better than some of the films which have been churned out by Hollywood recently.
Image: Gracenote 2015
All Films reviewed at Cineworld, Edinburgh