The Family

"Weak"

The Family Review


Despite a promising trailer and a great cast, this French-American comedy-thriller is a complete misfire because Luc Besson seems unclear about how to create a black comedy. He merely mixes silliness and violence, but the script is so lazy that it's neither funny nor suspenseful. With the talent on screen we keep hoping everything will come together at some point, but it never does.

It's set in Normandy, where the Manzoni family has just moved after another disastrous attempt at witness relocation. They snitched on the mob back in America, and are having a tough time blending with locals anywhere. Even here, Fred (De Niro) gets a little too frustrated with a plumber while Maggie (Pfeiffer) doesn't take insults lying down, and their kids Belle and Warren (Agron and D'Leo) quickly take over the system at their new school. Their handler Stansfield (Jones) is doing his best, but it can't belong before what they are up to gets them noticed back home.

For a French movie, this is oddly packed with negative French stereotypes, from the ugly casting to the locals' backwards technology (only the Americans have mobile phones). And everyone speaks English with a silly accent. But then the script is packed with head-scratching inconsistencies and far-fetched touches. We never believe a single element of the plot, which leaves these solid actors looking lost on screen. De Niro, Pfeiffer and Jones have at least played these characters before, so know how to punch the comedy notes.

But it's the awkward mixture of humour and violence that throws everything off balance. Instead of being cheeky about it, Besson indulges in bloodthirsty grisliness, then tries to drag us into either a slapstick laugh or a sentimental dramatic moment. And some elements, such as an extended GoodFellas gag, are just painful to watch. So we simply don't believe any of it, aside from the fact that it's so formulaic that we know exactly where it's heading. With a lighter touch, this might have been a blackly funny romp, but Besson's heavy hand leaves us feeling bruised.



The Family

Facts and Figures

Genre: Comedy

Run time: 111 mins

In Theaters: Friday 13th September 2013

Box Office USA: $36.9M

Box Office Worldwide: $36.9M

Budget: $30M

Distributed by: Relativity Media

Production compaines: Malavita, EuropaCorp, Relativity Media, TF1 Films Production, Grive Productions, Canal+, TF1

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 28%
Fresh: 36 Rotten: 91

IMDB: 6.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , Virginie Silla

Starring: as Fred Blake / Giovanni Manzoni, as Maggie Blake, as Belle Blake, as Warren Blake, as Robert Stansfield, Jimmy Palumbo as DiCicco, Gino Cafarelli as BBQ guest #2, as Don Mimino, David Belle as Mezzo, as Fat Willy, Paul Borghese as Albert, Stan Carp as Don Luchese, as Caputo

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.