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The Family: movie review

The Robert De Niro self-mockery train keeps on rolling! Everyone’s favorite Tribeca restaurant owner plays a New York mafioso boss hiding out in Normandy, France—along with his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) and family—courtesy of the witness-protection program. The quiet life doesn’t suit the clan, however, as they can’t stop indulging their degenerate impulses, be it Dad clubbing anyone who faintly disrespects him, Mom blowing up a grocery store run by rabid anti-Americans or their precociously criminal-minded kids scamming their schoolmates with vicious abandon.

Director Luc Besson treats his protagonists as likable cartoons yet never provides a single reason to view them as anything less than remorseless, repugnant psychos. That’s merely one of many missteps in this lurching misfire, which wastes copious time on mirthless bantering with a cantankerous government agent (Tommy Lee Jones) before a finale that abruptly trades jokey comedy for violent shoot-outs. Such tone-deafness still isn’t nearly as dismal as De Niro’s tired spoofery of his iconic onscreen mob persona, which—culminating with his expat admiringly watching Goodfellas—is now in dire need of a whacking.

Follow Nick Schager on Twitter: @nschager

Release details

Rated: R
Release date: Friday September 13 2013
Duration: 111 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Luc Besson
Screenwriter: Luc Besson
Cast: Robert De Niro
Michelle Pfeiffer
Dianna Agron
Tommy Lee Jones