The Family sounds great on paper – a Luc Besson film, set in France, starring Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeifer, Tommy Lee Jones and Diana Argon – it would take a… the opposite of a miracle for this film to flop. However, the critics just don’t seem to be warming up to this comedy about the family of an American mobster, relocating to rural France and essentially harassing the locals for almost two hours. There are a number of reasons, cited against the family – the acting not being one of them, of course – but the one that seems to be sticking is the uninspired story (penned by Besson himself, along with Michael Caleo, based on the novel by Tonino Benacquista).
De Niro manages to shine even in a lackluster role.
De Niro has plenty of experience playing mobsters. His performance as Gio, a gangster-turned-rat, who is forced to pose as a writer, living with his family in a village in Normandy and simultaneously penning a memoir, gets almost universal thumbs up, The New York Times’ Stephen Holden calls De Niro’s performance “surprisingly nuanced” and his character – “charming in a rough-hewed way, but lethal.”
Continue reading: What Is It About "The Family" That Makes It So Unloved By Critics?