It's hard to believe that it's been 13 years since Zach Braff proved he's more than just a comedic sitcom actor with the uber-personal indie drama, Garden State. Yet, it took Braff an entire decade to follow up his successful debut with 2014's Wish I Was Here, which opened to harshly mediocre reviews. But the director is on the rebound in surprisingly quick fashion with a reboot of the late 70s caper comedy, Going in Style.
Willie, Joe and Albert (Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin, respectively) are best friends enjoying the carefree lifestyle of retirement together. Until one day, when Joe visits the bank and learns that his mortgage rates have spiked to a level far too high for him to keep up with, leaving the retired grandfather with only 30 days to save his family's house from foreclosure. Adding insult to injury, the company which Joe, Willie and Albert devoted a lifetime of work to unexpectedly freeze their pension payouts, prompting the elderly trio to hatch a bank-robbery scheme in order to stay afloat financially for the rest of their days.
Zach Braff and screenwriter Theodore Melfi (co-writer and director of this past year's Best Picture Nominee, Hidden Figures) make a valiant attempt at crafting a light-hearted, feel-good comedy film. Instead, Going in Style serves as a miscalculated and emotionally-bland endeavor that hopes to masquerade re-hashed geriatric jokes as a form of relevant humor. Just to be clear, these shortcomings certainly doesn't rest on the shoulders of the film's well-chronicled veteran actors, who each provide a fully committed performance, they're sadly a product of Melfi's superficial screenplay and Braff's obsessive desire to capture the classic caper "style". In conjunction with a crop of vastly underdeveloped lead characters, Going in Style merely unveils its bank-robbery scheme via a brisk and uninformative montage that completely undermines Braff's clear dedication to the genre. It's unfortunate, but I'm starting to doubt that we'll ever witness a level of filmmaking and subtle storytelling from Braff that was so evident in his iconic debut.