By: Felix Felicis (Four Beers) –
Sweet motherfucking christ on a cracker, the only thing more depressing than watching our country swirl around a toilet bowl like a massive turd headed for World War Three is what happens when three old dudes take a break from watching The Bachelorette and decide to rob a bank. I’m guessing they threw in a trip to Florida and the early bird buffet to rope in this classic, badass crew of A-List royalty to what I can only describe as No Good Movies For Old Men: The Benefiber Years. The ONE thing that could possibly be more uncomfortable than sitting through a shallow, tonally inconsistent commentary on the marginalization of our society’s elders would be watching the trailer for Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Sequel in a theater set deep, deep in the South surrounded by Going In Style’s target demographic (old white people).
Going In Style is the bastard baby that happens when Ocean’s Eleven and Grumpy Old Men get weird in the back of a Taco Bell bathroom. A reboot of the 1979 movie, by the same name, directed by (ugh) Zach Braff (JD from Scrubs) and starring Morgan Freeman aka The Guy Who Plays God In Like Every Movie, Michael Caine aka Batman’s Most Badass Butler and Alan Arkin aka The Guy Who’s Been In Everything You Just Can’t Remember Exactly What are living the lives of sad old people marginalized by society and stripped of their pensions and last scraps of dignity before deciding to take their due back from Big Brother and the banks that get run by their douchebees.
Any magic driving the sad clown car that was Going In Style existed purely between our leading octogenarians and their devotion to one another. I’m almost totally grasping at straws here, but since maintaining a friendship longer than thanking the pizza guy for bringing you extra pepper flakes is a skill most of us sadly lack, it’s worth noting that the most genuinely affecting moments in this movie arose from Freeman, Caine, and Arkin’s enduring BFF-ness.
Going In Style is eminently forgettable, and, as someone who’s had (at last count) four concussions yet still remembers most of an episode of Jersey Shore they might have accidentally watched once (Snookie gets punched in the face while out at a bar) that’s saying something. This movie is aggressively bland in a way designed to somehow simultaneously make you feel guilty about when WAS the last time you called mom/dad/grandma/grandpa/the shrub who sent you a birthday card with a check for five dollars in it when you were five. They say getting older is like a second childhood and Going In Style is the Smurfs: Lost Village of the geriatric gang this month; it’s an easy option to park your olds in front of for two hours instead of actually having a conversation with them. Which is almost worse.
The inconsistent tone coupled with dialogue so generic cookie-cutters called and wanna get in on that action make Going In Style possibly the most ironically named film of all time. Because the one thing this movie lacked was style (… and/or substance). This “feel-good” flick doubled-down, hard, on the pity-those-old-fools vibe before taking a giant, bi-polar lunge into comical bank heist capersville (with the added after school special message to respect your elders-and all before using those rheumy baby blues to bat their lashes into a double-standard-ridden wrap up). The grafted mashup of Style’s genre-spliced hackery is the missing liver in a bathtub full of urban legend cinema ice and it WILL give you whiplash if you try and ride that psychotic seesaw.
There’s willing suspension of disbelief that goes along with most any trip to the movies and then there are gaps in logic so large if a Kardashian fell in they’d become trapped in an infinite drop through the space/time continuum and-HOLY SHIT I JUST FIGURED OUT HOW KYLIE JENNER GOT HER OWN REALITY SHOW ON E! NETWORK… But I digress. Going In Style skates by on the shallow pond of their premise pretty well until, in the aftermath of their ancient Robin Hood antics, their alibis, cover-up, and conclusion all neatly work out giving the largest “fuck you” to anyone with higher brain function outside of sentient cucumbers I’ve ever seen. The gossamer threads this plot gets wrapped up in could’ve been destroyed by a butterfly’s giggle, or, you know, something equally plausible like the weight of Joss Whedon’s favorite strand of arm hair (I’d buy that arm hair on eBay in a heartbeat). But I digress. Again. Long story short, if your derailed bank heist alibi comes down to being held together by the altruism and higher reasoning powers possessed by a six-year-old CONGRATULATIONS YOU STARRED IN GOING IN STYLE.
Dear Hollywood, stop dumbing down children’s and elder-oriented entertainment. Make movies EVERYONE will want to see. You’re welcome.
Going In Style (2017) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: anytime someone marginalizes or patronizes their elders.
Do a Shot: for every sad-sack, depressing-as-shit major plot twist.
Take a Drink: for each blatant misuse of Doc Brown. Stereotype, schmereotype.
Take a Sip: whenever you feel guilty for not treating your elders better and then Take Two: for the successfully blatant emotional manipulation.
Shotgun your Beer: for the plot almost brought down by a watch.