Starring: Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianna Agron, John D’Leo, Tommy Lee Jones
Directed by: Luc Besson
Written By: Luc Besson, Michael Caleo
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 52 min
The idea of a mob family trying to live and hide in a sleepy French town should be comedy gold. The Family however doesn’t mine that premise as much as it should. There are some genuinely funny moments as each family member lets us in on their own unique compulsions. But the overall tone of the film is much more serious.
The father Giovanni Manzoni (Robert De Niro) on the one hand is reflecting on his decision to rat on his mob family, while at the same time using his unique skills to solve a local water supply problem. His wife Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer) tries to bring a sense of home away from home, while also having trouble hiding her more destructive instincts. The kids also have their own stories, and at times I felt the film tries to do to much.
The finale is another example of this mixed tone of the film. The over the top nature with which the mob arrives to kill Giovanni and his family, is offset by a palpable sense of danger that one or all of the family will be killed.
The trailer sells this movie as a comedy only. It does have some genuinely funny moments, but the tone of this movie is more serious. It’s worth watching, but don’t expect a laugh fest.
Best viewing format:
I didn’t see or hear anything that justified a big screen experience for this film. If you can’t wait a matinee showing will save you some cash. If you can wait a HD viewing at home would be good.
Best element for me: << spoiler >>
Warren Blake’s (John D’Leo) antics at the local high school were always fun to watch. If the pace and tone of the rest of the film matched this, I’d be giving this film a much higher rating.