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Going in Style (PG-13)

Comedy 96 min. April 7, 2017
By Craig D. Lindsey
Somebody at Warners must've seen Going in Style, the 1979 film about old men robbing a bank, and decided that a peppier version could be profitable. The original has no less than George Burns, Jackie Gleason sidekick Art Carney and method-acting legend Lee Strasberg as old fogies who decide one day to pull a stick-up job. The new version has the same setup, with Oscar winners Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin as the geezers-turned-crooks, but they are two entirely different movies. The original starts off funny, with these artful codgers bored with sitting on park benches, bumbling their way through planning a heist. Then bleakness begins to seep in as the audience is invited to wonder who would catch the main trio first: the police or the Grim Reaper.

The remake is fun, frivolous shmaltz, even when its protagonists are so broke they literally can't afford their own pie slices. This time, these guys have a Very Noble Reason for robbing a bank: The steel factory they've worked at for years is being bought out, and their pensions swallowed up in the process. Rather than time itself, banks and big business are the bad guys of this Style, as they force our geriatric gents to become reservoir dogs, so they don't end up without a pot to (hardly) piss in. But the movie never succumbs to woefulness. The crew has a grand ol' time trying to be criminals. They even do a practice run that involves shoplifting at a supermarket, a scene that serves no other purpose than showing three of our greatest actors try to waddle their way out of the store without being caught.
Zach Braff Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin, Ann-Margret, Joey King, Matt Dillon, Christopher Lloyd, John Ortiz, Peter Serafinowicz Theodore Melfi Donald De Line Warner Bros.

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