By Dean Close, Editor

The older you are, the more you will enjoy “Going in Style.” I am as old as the Super Bowl (51) and the Ford Mustang and I absolutely loved it.

I don’t know what they call for movies for old men (Geezer Gazer?), but the one that opens tomorrow night at the Palace is the perfect one, whatever they call it.

“Going in Style” is funny and fun, and even mixes in a little romance and grandfatherly advice. It features some of the Baby Boomers’ favorite lifetime achievers of Hollywood in a way that is likely to make you remember some of your all-time favorite movies: Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Alan Larkin and a still-beautiful-at-age-76 Ann-Margret, as well as other frequent favorites such as Matt Dillon and Christopher Lloyd.

A remake of a 1979 film that included my grandparents’ favorite stars, including George Burns (I simply have to see that one), the modern version does what way too many remakes don’t: It works, and works very well.

In the trailer they showed on TV at other movies, Morgan Freeman says “Go big or go home.” I was afraid that line was a hint that the movie may be filled with tired clichés and lame one-liners. But, it’s not. The story feels fresh, the characters are as believable as octogenarian would-be felons can be, and it simply reminded me of the time when Hollywood writers felt confident enough in their words and story lines that they didn’t need to insert bathroom humor to get a laugh.


The story:

Joe (Michael Caine) and his colleagues Willie and Albert have lost their jobs – and their pensions – to a company that has moved its operations to another country. Joe visits his bank to deal with a foreclosure notice, when his appeal to an arrogant loan officer is interrupted by a bank robbery.

Surviving the experience, and a face-to-face conversation with one of the young robbers, inspires Joe to consider committing a similar crime. He begins recruiting his pals as cohorts.

After all, he says:

  1. If some young, less experienced men can pull it off, a robbery can’t be that hard for a group of older, wiser men; and,
  2. Joe’s bank not only stiffed him on his mortgage, but it also is the financial institution responsible for passing on his pension to someone else.

Joe and his friends, of course, well up in years, and not quite able to move as fast as they think a bank robber should. They also have a variety of health issues, was well as children and grandchildren who look up to them as examples.

So, will they decide to go through with the robber? If so, will they get away with it? And what will their descendants think of them if they try?

Meanwhile, Albert meets Annie (Ann-Margret) at the grocery store where she works, and she tries to encourage him to re-think the possibilities of life after 80.


Why you should go:

Michael Caine. Morgan Freeman. Alan Arkin. Christopher Lloyd. Oh, and have I mentioned Ann-Margret, who men of a certain age may remember as the beauty in movies like “The Tiger and the Pussycat” and “Mr. Kinky?” They all bring the best of acting, timing, physical comedy and the ability to look dignified while struggling with the various less-dignified-looking challenges of aging.


The most memorable line: “If we get away with it, we can retire comfortably. If we don’t, we get three meals a day, a bed and better health care than we have now.”


What you should know before you go (or send your husband):

The movie is rated PG-13, mostly because of comical depictions of drug use (marijuana). But even a recreational marijuana opponent like me didn’t find those scenes offensive. There is (kind of, anyway) a romantic bedroom scene and well while it doesn’t show anything to merit a more restrictive rating, the power of suggestion is likely to make an impression on any 80-year-old fan of Ann-Margret. So if your husband comes home from the theatre feeling frisky, well, hey, I tried to warn you. If you’re lucky, he won’t start pondering whether or not he could get away with robbery.