Friday, September 13, 2013
Robert De Niro is great in almost every movie he's in, so I was looking forward to seeing The Family. I also like Michelle Pfeiffer, and wanted to see how the two of them got along chemistry-wise. Although The Family had its moments, overall it's more suited to a matinee, and it ran a lot slower than I thought it would as well.
Gio Manzoni (De Niro) and his family are in the Witness Protection Program and have been relocated all over France, due to their big mouths and inability to stay out of trouble. Their newest location is Normandy, where they try to fit in ... but as usual, they have some issues. Gio stays at home and tries to write his memoirs, although the FBI agent on his case (Tommy Lee Jones) highly discourages him from doing so in case the book falls into the wrong hands. His wife, Maggie (Pfeiffer), gets laughed at in a store, so she burns it down. His daughter, Belle (Dianna Agron), may look sweet, but will not hesitate to bash your face in if you steal her pink pencil case, and his son, Warren (John D'Leo), has an innate ability to get a feel for the "school hierarchy" at his new high school and then exploit it as he see fits. When gangsters from their old Brooklyn neighborhood find out their new location, though, they've got to save themselves - and, as usual, they do this as a family.
All of the acting was good in this movie, although I will say that Pfeiffer's Brooklyn accent was atrocious - sometimes she pronounced her Rs and sometimes she did not. I didn't know Tommy Lee Jones was in this film and he's always great - he can convey emotions with a single deadpan look. John D'Leo, playing the son, reminded me of a young Logan Lerman, and many will recognize Dianna Agron from Glee. I'll also say that I liked how "slick" the movie was - cuts were quick and often humorous, and the film definitely tried to be a full-on "mafia movie." There's also a "wink wink" moment when De Niro's character shows up to an American film appreciation night, and the choice of film has been changed: it's now Goodfellas (a film that DeNiro himself was in).
Maybe see this film. Parts were great and parts were a little too "pat" and not really convincing. The movie has a few Kill Bill-esque scenes in it too, since everyone in the family enjoys causing mayhem wherever they go, especially Agron's character. The ending was left open for a sequel, but I'm not sure what they would do with it - I guess we will see later if one is made or not. My main issues with the film was that it was a little slow at times and also it could have been funnier - it aims to be funny and sometimes it succeeds but sometimes it also falls flat. It's not an awful choice for matinee but personally, I would wait until it's out on DVD/Blu-ray before viewing it and save some money.
The Family is in theaters today, September 13th, and is rated R with a runtime of 111 minutes. 3 stars out of 5.