I had the opportunity to watch The Family this week. This film has several big name stars in it, including the legendary Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, and the always funny Tommy Lee Jones, and relative newcomers Dianna Argon and John D’Leo.
De Niro plays the role of Giovanni Manzoni, mob boss from New York who rats out his “mob family” and is subsequently placed in the witness protection with his wife Maggie (Pfeiffer), his daughter Belle (Argon) and son Warren (D’Leo) in Normandy, France, by FBI agent Robert Stansfield (Jones).
Though the reasoning behind an across the pond relocation is unclear, the scenery is beautiful and the laughs are plenty. The Manzoni family, renamed the Blakes, struggle to adopt a normal life, hosting a barbeque for their French neighbors while trying to stay alive.
Sadly, all members of the family have difficulties fitting in with the French. One assumes that wife Maggie was blind to her husband’s criminal activities, but finds that she is not so innocent after all. Son Warren dabbles in all sorts of criminal activities in his new school. And daughter Belle proves that you can have beauty AND brains.
De Niro, bored of the quiet life, fantasizes about killing those who slight him and begins to write his memoirs – a recipe for disaster. What follows is a hilarious string of events involving bombs, guns and piling up bodies.
Jones is true to form in this film, playing a rugged, no-nonsense FBI agent with his usual subtle humor, trying his best to keep this family alive even though he deplores De Niro. The two men have a grudging respect and an ‘almost’ friendship.
Though it is obvious that this family is guilty of several crimes, the love they have for each other is oddly endearing and the viewer finds themselves wanting to see them succeed.
Overall, The Family is well worth the watch. The film will be held over at the Cozy through next Thursday.