I'm going to be upfront and say that I was actually kinda looking forward to seeing this movie. After watching the trailer, I felt as though the movie seemed kinda cool despite the corniness of the name and plot. I'm glad that I convinced my friends to go with me to see it when it came out.
In The Family, former mafia boss Giovanni Maznoni (De Niro) and his family are relocated to a small village in France by U.S. Witness Protection overseen by Robert Stansfield (Lee Jones) as the family is being hunted by a mafia kingpin that Giovanni snitched on. Each family slowly assimilates to their new life in the village: wife Maggie (Pfeiffer) blows up a grocery after being offended, eldest daughter Belle (Argon) falls in love with a French graduate student, and son Warren (D'Leo) takes over the black market at his new high school. The Mafia eventually finds information that may lead them straight to the French village where the family (hehe) have finally integrated themselves...Da Da DUN.
The thing I like most about this movie is the smooth combination of comedy, drama, and action into one entertaining film. The movie is not 100% a comedy, but several parts were funny and a few were even laugh out loud funny. (My favorite LOL moment had to be when the son Warren enlists a grossly obese classmate to help beat up a gang that beat Warren up on his first day. The obese kid literally came running a full speed -2mph- into the ring leader, smashing him into a wall. It was like a tank smashing into a French eclair.. It was glorious. Fat people:1 - Skinny People: 0). While The Family was filled with various comedic moments, the movie had a few touching and sad moments where one could really connect to the characters and their individual struggles. The saddest moment, in my opinion, was when the French graduate student broke up with Belle after they had sex. Her hopes and dreams for a normal future with this man were shattered and you wind up feeling bad for her despite her dramatic reasoning. While the comedy and drama dominated the majority of the story, with a flicker of violence here and there, the movie ended with an explosion of action when the Mafia finally found Giovanni's family. The Mafia literally kills everybody insight except the family, who take up arms and fight back. (The struggle between Giovanni and corpulent Mafia hit man Bernie was quite the fight..Until Maggie planted a knife in his chest. Fat People:1 Skinny People:1).
The movie was good overall, but of course contained a few major negative points. The acting was pretty average throughout. I think this was the first movie I have seen Michelle Pfeiffer in since Batman Returns.. But Pfeiffer and De Niro both brought their characters' struggles to life and somehow made them relatively connectable. Tommy Lee Jones acting was a tad bit too serious for the film and thus seemed out of place. On a side note, one can see the make up on Tommy Lee Jones's face with every close up which completely distracted me from everything he was saying. Lastly, some aspects of the plot were a total stretch. For example, I find the probability HIGHLY UNLIKELY that a high school newspaper articles from a small French village would make it all the way to New York City right into the hands of the lead Mafia man in jail coincidentally. Screenwriters could have easily come up with another method of giving the Mafia a clue. Also, i'm surprised no one in town started asking questions when the grocery blew up or a plumber was beat to pulp or the director of a factory sustained injuries after being dragged behind a car.
Despite being far from perfect, The Family was definitely enjoyable overall and I recommend seeing it if you have nothing to do on the weekend.