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Review: The Family

Sep. 13, 2013by: JimmyO

PLOT: A notorious Mafia family is relocated to France after being placed under the Witness Relocation Program. For them however, finding a new and peaceful way of life becomes a near impossible task.

REVIEW: At one point near the end of the terribly humorless comedy from Luc Besson, THE FAMILY, the movie GOODFELLAS is mentioned and shown for a film society in the small town of Normandy, France. We, as the audience, hear Ray Liotta’s crackling dialogue and that great music and for a brief second… entertainment. It was the single best thing about this dreadful new film starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer as a husband and wife who along with their son and daughter have entered the Witness Relocation Program. You see, Giovanni Manzoni (De Niro) snitched on his Mob family and now he is transported to this small town in France after several other attempts to start a new life without crime. However, this family just can’t stop blowing up, stabbing, or beating up anyone and everything that causes them any grief.

There is nothing wrong with a cynical dark comedy if it’s funny. However, this rambling mess of a movie introduces us to the grim and depressing Manzoni (currently going by Blake) family including De Niro, Pfeiffer and their two teenagers played by Dianna Agron and John D’Leo. They mope about and follow along with a script that offers up nearly every cliché you can think of. This includes the Italian mafia, the American hating French, and even a lame and painfully obvious teenage crush that has no business being in this film. With a script by director Besson and Michael Caleo – based on the book by Tonino Benacquista – the humor is lazy and effortless without any real direction. It begins with the family already living in France and it proceeds to go nowhere fast. It isn’t until near the end when one of the guys that Manzoni sold to the Feds finds out where they may be hiding. How he figures it out is one of the most ludicrous moments in a movie that is filled with them.

De Niro and Pfeiffer do with this what they can, yet somehow they don’t seem all that inspired to put in much work. Both are terrific actors yet even they can’t liven up this lame attempt at action comedy. As far as Agron and D’Leo go, they are fine actors, yet their brother and sister relationship is extremely odd. At times it damn near seems incestuous as they never fight or traumatize each other. All they seem to do is hug and show their support for each other after one of them does something horrible to somebody else. Tommy Lee Jones joins in on the fun as well and he does what is required and he is good at it. The fact that these characters are paper thin without any rhyme or reason makes it difficult for them to really bring these people to life.

Besson clearly has a flair for action, but this is not a good example of that in any way, shape, or form. Even the violent sequences come across as dull and repetitive. During the climax of the film, which is beyond ridiculous as well, there are guns blazing and bodies flying without any real thrill or tension. It’s not hard to figure out exactly where the story is going. The challenge is trying to care about any of it. Hell, if they had killed off the Manzoni family within the first ten minutes it would have probably been a blessing in disguise. The entire structure of the film is haphazard and feels almost as if they were desperate to edit together one film out of three or four different ones. So much so that every time they offer a subplot, it is sloppily handled to the point even the filmmakers seems to lose interest.

Truly the biggest problem with THE FAMILY is that it is simply not funny. The jokes are obvious and a few of the best gags were in the trailer so you already know they are coming. Dark humor is one thing, but this is just four characters that have no substance whatsoever. It is Jones who offers some sort of life with one of the single likable characters in the film. He and De Niro even manage to make for a couple of near amusing scenes. Predictable, dull and chaotic, THE FAMILY is one of the least funny comedies of the year. Do yourself a favor and just rent MARRIED TO THE MOB – a far more entertaining Jonathan Demme directed flick that Pfeiffer did in 1988. Even GOODFELLAS has more intentional humor than this lame excuse for a comedy.

Source: JoBlo.com

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+1
3:27AM on 09/16/2013
A 2? Really? I'd say maybe a 5 or 6. It was pretty entertaining. And the finale was a lot of fun. It was certainly a Luc Besson film. He's done a lot better, but this really wasn't that bad. A 2 suggests that this is almost unwatchable, but I'd say it's a decently entertaining way to kill a couple of hours.
A 2? Really? I'd say maybe a 5 or 6. It was pretty entertaining. And the finale was a lot of fun. It was certainly a Luc Besson film. He's done a lot better, but this really wasn't that bad. A 2 suggests that this is almost unwatchable, but I'd say it's a decently entertaining way to kill a couple of hours.
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6:41PM on 09/14/2013
I would give this movie a 4 or 5 out of 10. Giving it a 2 was a little harsh for this movie because I have seen much, much worse.
I would give this movie a 4 or 5 out of 10. Giving it a 2 was a little harsh for this movie because I have seen much, much worse.
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2:52PM on 09/14/2013

jeny

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my co-worker's sister makes $71 hourly on the internet. She has been out of work for 9 months but last month her paycheck was $18885 just working on the internet for a few hours. more information...
www.jam30.com
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7:15AM on 09/14/2013

Bummer

I really liked the trailer and was looking forward to this, but now my hopes are vanished. I'll still check it out to make my own opinion, but I'll wait for the rental now.
I really liked the trailer and was looking forward to this, but now my hopes are vanished. I'll still check it out to make my own opinion, but I'll wait for the rental now.
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1:50PM on 09/13/2013
Martin Scorsese executive-producing gave me some glimmer of hope. Honestly, while the cast seems ideal, the mob comedy is a difficult thing to pull off, and it's been about ten years since De Niro played a mobster, and with his long stretches between directing gigs, for Luc Besson to attempt a black comedy seemed a risky venture at best. Too bad, really, as the prospect of De Niro acting against Tommy Lee Jones could have the potential to be really special.
Martin Scorsese executive-producing gave me some glimmer of hope. Honestly, while the cast seems ideal, the mob comedy is a difficult thing to pull off, and it's been about ten years since De Niro played a mobster, and with his long stretches between directing gigs, for Luc Besson to attempt a black comedy seemed a risky venture at best. Too bad, really, as the prospect of De Niro acting against Tommy Lee Jones could have the potential to be really special.
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12:08PM on 09/13/2013

Hey Robert Deniro:

Dr. King Schultz called: he wants his hairstyle and beard back.
Dr. King Schultz called: he wants his hairstyle and beard back.
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12:03PM on 09/13/2013

I had a bit of small hope for this...

But now I'll be skipping it.
Also, a mobster entering witness protection can be done very effectively and funny. See My Blue Heaven with Steve Martin which is underrated and hilarious.
But now I'll be skipping it.
Also, a mobster entering witness protection can be done very effectively and funny. See My Blue Heaven with Steve Martin which is underrated and hilarious.
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3:39PM on 09/13/2013
I love that movie...pure genius. I think the strength of that movie is that it knew its tone and stuck with it. There wasn't really any violence in it besides a brief and tame shoot out at the end. I hear this thing has trouble deciding if it wants to be violent or funny. It is really hard to pull both off at the same time.

Anyone who hasn't seen "My Blue Heaven" should give it a shot.
I love that movie...pure genius. I think the strength of that movie is that it knew its tone and stuck with it. There wasn't really any violence in it besides a brief and tame shoot out at the end. I hear this thing has trouble deciding if it wants to be violent or funny. It is really hard to pull both off at the same time.

Anyone who hasn't seen "My Blue Heaven" should give it a shot.
11:58AM on 09/13/2013
is it really that bad? The trailer made it seem at least somewhat funny.
is it really that bad? The trailer made it seem at least somewhat funny.
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11:22AM on 09/13/2013
Wow, that bad? I thought it might be pretty fun to see De Niro nod and wink at his mob movie catalogue with a little dignity. Oh well.
Wow, that bad? I thought it might be pretty fun to see De Niro nod and wink at his mob movie catalogue with a little dignity. Oh well.
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10:50AM on 09/13/2013
I'm really surprised at the low score. The trailers made it seem like such a fun film to see with a good cast.

Will check it out, but Insidious Part 2 has my money this weekend.
I'm really surprised at the low score. The trailers made it seem like such a fun film to see with a good cast.

Will check it out, but Insidious Part 2 has my money this weekend.
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10:40AM on 09/13/2013
Ouch! DeNiro being in Silver Linings Playbook seems like a fluke now.
Ouch! DeNiro being in Silver Linings Playbook seems like a fluke now.
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+3
10:33AM on 09/13/2013
I love guessing the review scores beforehand. I guessed 4/10 this time. So wow, it must be really terrible. Looked like garbage.
I love guessing the review scores beforehand. I guessed 4/10 this time. So wow, it must be really terrible. Looked like garbage.
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