Pay check movie for three characters and the actors who play them

Pay check movie for three characters and the actors who play them

Consider this a little in-between-seasons truffle before the summer movies hit theaters. Spring is always a mixed bag of movies that range from pretty good to awful and run the gamut of genres: horror, humor and animation. Some recent ones have been surprisingly good like “Life,” the sci-fi horror movie, and “Boss Baby,” the DreamWorks animated feature with Alec Baldwin.

“Going in Style” will have the greatest appeal with older viewers, and it’s pretty good, or not so bad depending on whether you have a “cup half empty” or “cup half full” kind of personality. It won’t burn up the box office, but it won’t do any harm either.

The three leads, played by Michael Caine as Willie, Morgan Freeman as Joe, and Alan Arkin as Albert, are retired factory workers living on pensions. They are also best friends who happen to live across the street from each other. The first financial blow hits Willie when he discovers that some 6-point type in the refinance paperwork he signed at the bank has now allowed them to triple his mortgage payment — in short, he’s about to lose his house.

The second blow comes when the three find out that their pension fund has been robbed in a corporate takeover and that will soon be gone as well. But Willie has plan to get it back by robbing the very bank that is about to foreclose on his house.

When you get three veteran actors together like Caine, Freeman and Arkin, it’s pretty fail proof. These guys are pros, and even the trite material — one supports his daughter and granddaughter, one has a serious illness and one is just dyspeptic — is something they can rise above. Director Zach Braff doesn’t really add anything in what is sort of a remake of a 1979 movie that starred George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg, who commit a similar caper just because they feel like doing it.

The addition of Ann-Margaret as a love interest for Arkin gets some great laughs, as well as Matt Dillon as a dim-witted cop. But most of the work is left to the three leads in this lightweight comedy. You can’t begrudge three octogenarians robbing a bank for the exact amount they need to pay their bills and then donating the rest to charity. They are a little beyond the years of leaping through the forest like some modern-day Robin Hoods, but they are three merry men who are in “Style,” even if this does very much feel like just a paycheck movie for the trio.

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