John D'Leo, Luc Besson and Talia Besson - Shots of a variety of stars as they arrived for the Los Angeles premiere of the action drama movie 'Unbroken' directed by Angelina Jolie. The premiere was held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California, United States - Monday 15th December 2014
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.
Continue reading: The Family Review
Depth and complexity just don't run in "The Family."
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?
The Trailer for upcoming black comedy 'The Family', starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer, has been released.
From director Luc Besson (Taken, Léon) comes a new gangster movieThe Family- only this time Besson has made a black comedy. The Family stars Hollywood heavyweights Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer as a husband and wife duo. The pair co-starred together in 2007's Stardust but hadn't actually 'performed' together until now.
The plot follows the Manzoni family, led by patriarchal Giovanni (De Niro), who are placed under witness protection after snitching on the mafia. After the mafia turn on him, wanting him dead, Giovanni's family are moved en masse from Brooklyn to Normandy in France reinventing themselves as 'the Blakes' but encounter difficulties when trying to fit in.
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