Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones revisit some blasts from their pasts in “The Family,” a violent comedy about a mob family in France.
De Niro is Giovanni Manzoni, who ratted out his pals in Brooklyn and has a $20 million price on his head. He is, he narrates, “a nice guy” who has to control “my sadistic urges” better. He’s prone to beating people senseless or to death over poor service and “disrespect.” And he’s in France.
Pfeiffer tones down her “Married to the Mob” turn as Maggie, the wife, moving to yet another town where these people need to fit in. But encounters with French salesclerks bring out the pyromaniac in her.
Jones is a milder version of his U.S. marshal characters as a government agent.
As the Blakes set up shop in Normandy, Gio, or “Fred,” decides he’ll write his memoirs. Fred says he’s doing a D-Day book when he doesn’t know a thing about the subject.
Son Warren, (John D’Leo) is born to work the angles. Daughter Belle (Dianna Agron) sets her sights on a student teacher as a conquest.
De Niro is the funniest he’s been since the “Analyze This” series, and one scene — he’s invited to be a speaker at a film society — manages huge laughs based on his filmography.
Director Luc Besson established his action cred decades ago with “La Femme Nikita” and “The Professional.” But nobody accused Monsieur Luc of having any flair for comedy.
— Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service