Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin: the triple-whammy veteran cast that heads up this light-hearted Brooklyn-set heist caper (a remake of a largely forgotten 1979 movie starring George Burns) is just about distracting and charming enough to paper over the film’s sketchy story and low energy levels. The three play an ageing trio who are sick of being bashed around by life in retirement. After one of them, Joe (Caine), finds himself in the middle of a hold-up thinking he could do better they decide to rob the Williamsburg Savings Bank. For much of the movie, these three old pals plot and practise, honing the perfect alibi, while director Zach Braff (‘Garden State’) leads us on the odd brief detour into each of their family or romantic lives without ever going deep.
The script by Theodore Melfi (‘Hidden Figures’) pays lip service to contemporary economic struggles, referencing the squeeze on traditional industry (all three men are former steel workers) and the breakdown of old-age financial relief and family support. But these nods to reality are just as soft as the movie’s more slapstick tendencies, which include not-very-rib-tickling scenes of shoplifting and chases involving mobility scooters. And don’t think too much about the plot; it’s about as water-tight as a corporate pension scheme. All three actors deliver exactly what you expect from them – nothing more, nothing new – but their familiarity is a strange comfort in itself.