ROBERT DENIRO MICHELLE PFEIFFER TOMMY LEE JONES DIANNA AGRON JOHN D’LEO
If you are curious as to what stupid translates to in the mob world, look no further than director Luc Besson’s comedy The Family, starring, and I frown when I say this, Robert DeNiro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones. You have to have some grand intentions to make a movie this bad with a cast like that. Actually, all three actors haven’t had much box office success lately; DeNiro has become such a hit or miss, with last years Silver Linings Playbook his only real worthy performance in a sea of recent failures. Pfeiffer was upset that the last two films she and DeNiro appeared in together (Stardust, New Years Eve) did not have them on screen together and said she wouldn’t read the script unless they had scenes together. Clearly she still didn’t read the script.
The Manzoni family is running and hiding ever so often because of mob ties and the fact that their patriarch Giovanni (DeNiro) can’t stop killing people. Bell (Agron) and Warren (D’Leo) are not innocent children either; they practice the same violent nature handed down from their parents. Maggie (Pfeiffer) is constantly worried about the safety of her family, but don’t talk about her behind her back or she will blow up the grocery store. The small French town they are now calling home is already buzzing with suspicion, and it doesn’t take their enemies long to spot them with a town this nosy.
The Family and everything about it is intentionally misrepresentative. When Maggie asks Giovanni if he needs help with the bags, she really means the body bags. We have seen this same type of film before in a different genre, where a family moves to a new neighborhood to shield their purpose or identity. Not only does The Family offer nothing new, but it’s as drawn out and stale as you can imagine. DeNiro and Pfeiffer just sit around trading one bad line after another. The children get more to do, but it still doesn’t give the audience a reason to want to finish the film, as the conclusion is blaringly obvious.
The fake out scenes, or scenes where DeNiro’s character imagines what he wants to do to people, are poorly and unimaginatively used. Not only that, with half the people he is killing, why the need to imagine killing the rest? I’m a bit disturbed that Martin Scorsese would produce or even allow his name to be on something this awful. However, they do talk about Goodfellas in the film, so perhaps that’s the reason. Still, there is no excuse for such great talent to be in a film this bad.
Final Thought - Embarrassingly bad and unforgivable.
By: Dustin Chase