Are you Nana? Then you will LOVE Going in Style, the geriatric bank heist film from Zach Braff, who I like to call Zach Barff because his name sounds kind of like Barff and Garden State makes me want to barf. With its aggressively busy score and oh-so-soft comedy style, Nana is sure to go bananas. Everyone else will likely find it to be an insufferable (although harmless) throwaway.
Maybe I’m being too harsh. It’s clear, based on the audience reaction, that this film’s intended recipient (Nana) will eat it right up like it’s her pills, which is a fine thing for a well-intentioned comedy. But I’m not Nana, and even though I’ve recently started supplementing with Metamucil, I just can’t stomach movies like this. And what is a movie “like this”? Well, it’s when a we take the template of a popular genre and put old people in it. For Nana.
Going in Style takes the too-fast-for-Nana “bank heist” genre, fills it with old people, and slows it down to match Nana’s pace. And since Nana deserves a high-quality lack of quality, the old people are top-tier talent. We’ve got Alan Arkin, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman — arguably the best old people working today. Michael Caine (old) plays Joe, who, after losing his pension and receiving an eviction notice from the bank, decides to rob said bank. He enlists his friends Willie (Morgan Freeman, old) and Albert (Alan Arkin, old) to pull off job, and of course, hijinks ensue.
They say naughty words, they bicker while watching The Bachelorette, they have a hard time going from sitting to standing, a fat kid says he wants to dance “like Beyoncé,” and later does. There’s a scene where they have to smoke pot, and it results in – get this – munchies! Even Christopher Lloyd (old) shows up, and boy is he suffering from the most adorable case of dementia! And through it all Nana is rolling in the aisles. Seriously, how are you going to get that old battle-axe home? You might have to carry her! She’ll be laughed off her feet for sure!!!
Did you know that this is a remake of a 1979 film? Because I just now learned that and it doesn’t change my opinion of Going in Style at all (although I am admittedly curious to watch the original – it’s from Martin Brest of Beverly Hills Cop fame). The screenplay for this wacky modern version was written by Theodore Melfi. To think, he could have swapped out plot entirely for a blunt, broad social message and be facing Oscar consideration.
Yes, that was an underhanded jab at Hidden Figures. I’ve had a long day.
But Nana has had many long days, God bless her kind soul, and damnit, SHE NEEDS ENTERTAINMENT TOO! So for that reason alone I must declare Going in Style a success, even if the title itself is creepily referential to mortality.
Going in Style opens in Philly theaters today.
Author: Dan Scully
Dan Scully is a film buff and humorist living in a tiny apartment in Philadelphia. He hosts the podcast I Like to Movie Movie and is the proud father to twin cactuses named Riggs & Murtaugh. Also, he doesn’t really mind when Batman kills people. Follow him on Twitter and Letterboxd.