You may think you’ve seen particular type of movie before, and you probably have, but The Family is entertaining and amusing in a silly, off-beat way, so if you are in the mood to watch a serious mob movie, give this one a skip.
After being relocated to Normandy in France under the witness protection programme, the Manzoni family find themselves having to try to blend in and act as though they are an average family enjoying a relaxing extended vacation together. Despite living the good life and having the FBI pander to their every need, this mob family fail at keeping up appearances right from the very start. Having snitched on his Mafia counterparts in the US, Manzoni now has a $20 million price tag on his head. However, even the best attempts by the FBI to keep this family safe go awry. Agent Stansfield (Tommy Lee Jones) tries his very best to keep mob boss Fred Manzoni (Robert DeNiro), his wife Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer) and their children Belle (Diana Agron) and Warron (John D’Leo) in line, but old habits die hard and the family sets about dealing with problems which arise in the ‘family way’, which leads to their cover being blown and enables their former mafia connections to track them down.
This dark comedy from French director Luc Besson, who also brought to us The Fifth Element and The Professional, can be rather uneven at times flitting between comedy, violence, sentiment and farce. At times you may feel as though you are logged in at http://www.jackgold.com playing slots as you never know what’s going to happen next. Some viewers may find certain elements of this movie too dark and others may find the farcical nature of the movie distasteful, but both DeNiro and Pfeiffer are great fun to watch, especially in those scenes when he has to deal with his family’s errant behaviour. Pfeiffer delivers a stellar performance and is arguably the star of the show. The acting is superb as the seasoned cast dive whole-heartedly into the somewhat silly situations which arise and turn what could be an annoying storyline into an entertaining bit of escapism.