It’s surprising that Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin haven’t all appeared in a film together until now.
Synopsis: Desperate to pay the bills and come through for their loved ones, three lifelong pals risk it all by embarking on a daring bid to knock off the very bank that absconded with their money. (IMDB)
Starring: Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin
Writer: Theodore Melfi
Director: Zach Braff
Running Time: 96mins
Again, it’s amazing what three great actors can do for a film. There’s absolutely nothing original about this film but it almost didn’t matter because of who was involved. A trio of lifelong friends named Willie (Freeman), Joe (Caine), and Albert (Arkin) all hit hard times once they lose their pensions. To try and get their money back, the three decide to rob the bank who took their money.
This was a heist film but it was more than that. Perhaps trying to make it more than it probably should have been by making a tad too overly sentimental with each of the characters’ subplots. The story has to give these characters stakes which were all too familiar but it was more about the journey than the destination. Their personal subplots were not the most interesting but what made it bearable was the camaraderie between these characters.
With a comedy featuring a trio of “older” characters, the comedy wasn’t as much about the characters being old, albeit some of it was, but was more about these characters playing off of each other. When it worked, which wasn’t always, it worked because of the chemistry between the characters, making their relationship believable and thus adding more of an impact to the comedy. It wasn’t just them, however, as a few secondary characters including a mentally disabled man named Milton (Christopher Lloyd) and Albert’s girlfriend named Annie (Ann-Margaret).
Since the film is not the most original, it suffers from being predictable and overly contrived and plays it a little too safe at times, relying on familiar storytelling tropes. It tried to have a message about living life to its fullest and taking charge of one’s own life but it never really hit home. It was more about just seeing these characters have fun and it was fun to watch them. As a result, the film never took itself seriously instead of letting itself get weighed down by sentimentality.
The performances were the best part of the film with Freeman, Caine, and Arkin leading the way. The material may not have been the best but they effortlessly managed to elevate it with their screen presence. The film depended so much on the relationship between these characters and their chemistry made it fun to watch (they were going to be the reason people were going to watch it anyway). They were having fun so it was easy to have fun with them. Christopher Lloyd was a welcome surprise and was hilarious as the comic relief and Ann-Margaret held her own during scenes with Arkin.
Overall, this was a fun, decently funny comedy with a safe, familiar story but is elevated by the fun to watch performances of Freeman, Caine, and Arkin.
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