There was a time when people ached for more films that dealt sensitively and compassionately with the concerns of our aged population of withered-up old fogies as they lurched toward the grave, half-blind and mad as a hatter. Over the past few years, however, we have seen the rise of a sad and silly wave of seniorsploitation comedies (often starring Robert De Niro and/or Morgan Freeman) devoted to rounding up a bunch of ancient actors who really should know better for the sake of Viagra jokes, weddings, and other assorted tomfoolery. It’s gotten so out of hand that now people are pleading with Hollywood to finally make movies about attractive young people, preferably teenagers.
The 1979 sleeper hit Going In Style was ahead of the curve in subjecting seniors to genial silliness. The sly caper comedy centered on a trio of bored old men played by George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strasberg, who rob a bank while outfitted in Groucho glasses—so of course it is now being remade with Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and potentially Dustin Hoffman in a version that might be helmed by Zach Braff of Wish I Was Here fame. Somewhat cryptically, however, Variety writes of New Line’s relationship with Braff, “negotiations are not under way.”
This has all the makings of a crowd-pleasing hit, but also the kind of movie that treats the elderly as adorable old coots whose shenanigans are zany but inoffensive. It is not yet known whether eternal man-child Braff will direct, but if there’s a scene where Morgan Freeman admonishes a young woman to listen to a Walkman with Benny Goodman’s Greatest Hits on the grounds that doing so will change her life, we’ll know that Braff is really making his authorial influence known.