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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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Under the witness-protection program the 'Manzoni' family have been
re-located to 'Normandy' their names are of course changed, it is now
'Blake' the former mafia-boss 'Giovanni Manzoni' (now 'Fred Blake)
has stitched up his former 'Mafia' family.( He's broken the Mafia code)
'Agent' 'Robert Stansfield' (Tommy Lee Jones) try's to keep the family
in line, but old habit's die hard....which leads to many tongue-in-cheek
if but violent sequences.
The Kids 'Belle' and 'Warren' have to adjust to life in a ''normal'' college,
it doesn't take either long to muscle in on the action however.
'Frank's' wife 'Maggie' (Michell Pfeiffer) also has difficulty in fitting into a
run-of-the mill community, life style just won't be the same.
Of course 'Fred' (Robert De Niro) and his family are on the 'mafia' hit-list,
''The Family'' (Mafia) don't forget and are closing in on the 'Blake's new
surroundings after a 'Normandy' newspaper finds its way across the
'Atlantic' into the hands of the now imprisoned 'Mafia' boss.
'Fred' (Giovanni) has a whole lot more to worry about than the colour of
the tap-water.
The 'Blake' family now come face to face with 'MAFIA' hit-men in a life or
death showdown.
Some of the reviews I've read in the National's have been less than
complimentary about the movie, however...
The film does harbour many 'violent' sure to make you smile moments,
maybe not the fastest moving film you'll watch this year, however if like#
myself you like 'Robert De Niro' movies, it's worth a spin.
Special Features -
*Making of The Family.
*The Many Meanings of the Fu*%.
22 comments| 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 15 June 2015
Disappointing film from Luc Besson, definitely not one of his best; his usually deft handling seems to have deserted him and the plot is so full of holes that perhaps a better title would have been The Swiss Cheese Family - might have been more fun in the Alps, too; maybe even a reprise of the The Eiger Sanction [DVD]

There are some mildly amusing moments, such as when Michelle Pfeiffer blows up the local grocery store, but most most of the humour is just inane. And any potentially humourous scenes are spoiled by pointless violence - yes, I know the family are not meant to be angels, but this film is presumably meant to entertain and it misses that goal quite badly in my view.

In spite of having some very fine actors on board, I found that none of the family members had any engaging or redeeming characteristics and by the end of the film I was hoping they'd all be blown away by the Mob. Unfortunately, that didn't happen and the real victims were the French inhabitants of the village so pointlessly wrecked by a ludicrous number of heavily-armed, but congenitally stupid, mobsters.

Only bother watching if your beer goggles are fully loaded...
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on 1 September 2014
Pretty poor stuff considering the cast and director. Billed as a comedy, but really very short on laughs and with a pointlessly high body-count.
Basically, its a cartoon, with constant acts of ridiculously overblown violence with no consequences, one-dimentional characters and a plot which is just a string of absurdities.
How could Besson make a film which is so wrong in every possible way about France and the French? The two kids have apparently been going to school in France for quite some time, yet still speak no French, which is fine since all lessons are conducted in English for their convenience! They will feel right at home since the whole school and everyone in it are lifted straight out of every American teen high school movie you've ever seen. The only concession to it supposedly being in France is that everyone speaks English with a French accent. In fact the whole town speaks English all the time (not just English, but idiomatic American English). Why did he bother setting this film in France?? Most baffling is the claim that the French live entirely on macrobiotic steamed veggies and are therefore longing for a hamburger! If it did not have Luc Besson's name on it you would think it was made by someone who had never been within a hundred miles of the place (or even to a French restaurant).
In such a cartoonish film you'd expect French clichés and stereotypes, but these aren't even clichés, its just WRONG.
11 comment| 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 23 November 2013
"The Family" is an excellent and entertaining gangster comedy about an aging mafioso "snitch" played by Robert De Niro who , along with his family, are relocated to Normandy,France under an FBI witness protection programme. The film boasts a very good cast and some fine acting. Michelle Pfeiffer plays De Niro's wife and Tommy Lee Jones his FBI handler. The two teenagers who play De Niro's children also put in star performances. One thing about the film I had qualms about was it's assumption that sadistic, brutal violence is somehow funny, but if you put that to one side this film does stand out from the crowd. It is witty and clever throughout and the viewer does care about this dysfunctional mafia family despite their criminal antics. The film is well paced, suspenseful and absorbing as mafia hitmen close in on the fugitives following the family's decision not to live a quiet, unobtrusive life among the French locals. One of the best films that I have seen this year.
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on 2 December 2013
Fred Blake / Giovanni Manzoni (Robert De Niro) and family are in the witness protection program. The mafia has a $20 million price tag on their heads. They have just moved into Normandy. Tommy Lee Jones is their FBI contact. The movie plays light Italian music to induce us into thinking it is a comedy. There are numerous humorous moments, but it is far from a knee slapper. The characters are stereotyped, as is the mafia, minus the token character named Fat Tony...they use Fat Willie instead.

The family has to endure the snobbish French, all the while desiring to smash their faces, which sometimes they do. The writing was lackluster and flat. As contradictory as this sounds, the film relies heavily on stereotypes, yet at the same time fails to exploit the stereotypes to create a smart comedy. If you are going to do one, you have to do the other.

The kids at school scene begins as if it is going to be a smart comedy, but then fizzles. The affection Belle (Dianna Agron) develops for her math tutor was a complete bore and waste of time. Both De Niro's character and his wife Michelle Pfeiffer were poorly utilized outside of a few scenes.

Makes for a decent rental. Wait for a price crash to own.

Parental Guide: F-bombs, brief sex scene, no nudity.
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on 12 May 2014
Watched this on a Sunday afternoon and really enjoyed it. You could make a number of observation from a criticle point of view, there are some films where you need just to lay back and enjoy and this is one of them. Are you getting a great film no, are you getting a film that puts a little smile on your face yes.
0Comment| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 1 April 2016
With an interesting combination of actors I was expecting a good film. That it was, if a little lacking in plot.

Belle (Dianna Agron) from glee plays Giovannis (De Niros) daughter. Her plot seems to be around a young math geek who she has sex with against the classroom door and is going to throw herself off a building because he's moving to Paris and doesn't care for her. She sees the gangsters and jumps in to save her family. This I found a shame - the son (Jon D'Leo) has much more of a plot, setting up businesses etc within school whilst his sister has a much more feminine appropriate story line.

It's just a shame that whilst everyone else is blowing up supermarkets and killing people that the daughter is falling in love and losing her virginity. Asides from that annoyance the film does well - carried by De Niro
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on 16 December 2013
You might object to a film with a rating of 29% based on 119 reviews from leading critics being called `a masterpiece' but you would be wrong because `The Family' is one of the most entertaining action comedy films of the year with great performances from Robert De Niro and Tommy Lee Jones and when I say great performances I mean they pretty much play the same role they have played in every movie ever. However it's hard to object to Robert De Niro playing a gangster and Tommy Lee Jones playing a grumpy law man.

Some of the bad reviews go like this `Unfortunately, The Family suffers from an extreme case of advanced tonal disorder'; `It's horribly violent, the family are appalling, it's never believable and far too long'; `The collateral damage involving innocent bystanders is staggering.'; `A lumbering farce that takes an unpleasantly sadistic glee in violence, murder and intimidation.'; `Neither comedy nor drama, 'The Family' is a combination of both that sometimes works when it decides what it wants to be.'; `The Blakes are hardly sympathetic figures, so when their lives are threatened, I began to silently root for their demise' and finally my favourite comment `The film isn't worthy of De Niro's stature, in the gangster sub-genre or otherwise' - apparently this reviewer has not seen a Robert De Niro film in the last few years.

First of all if you dislike this film it's probably based on one the reasons given by leading critics in the second paragraph and to be honest not one comment is a bad reason to hate this film because the characters in the family are complete psychopaths who care about nothing but themselves. They overact to the slightest comment and are pretty much gangsters which is hardly surprising since De Niro's character states that he considered the mob his `family' and sold them out for a better quality of life.

The best thing about this film is the story. The start, middle and end. The ending is fantastic with a brilliant last 30 minutes that had me on the edge of my seat. Given the previous actions by the family it is completely open to what might happen; you just really don't know how it will end. The best scene is the scene where Robert De Niro is asked to be a critic on the film `Goodfellas'.

This film is for you if you can accept the fact that the family are psychopaths with zero redeeming qualities and absolutely no empathy for other people. The story is strong and for a film with few likable lead characters is incredibly enjoyable. Definitely worth seeing.
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on 7 April 2014
I wanted to share some of the important facts I learned while watching this realistic and profound classic:
1) Mob hitmen routinely wipe out entire families when looking for one person.
2) It's really simple to smuggle huge amounts of firearms into France.
3) The Witness Protection Programme is perfectly happy to give a family new identities every few weeks.
4) A tiny school newspaper can easily end up in the hands of a jailed Mafia don thousands of miles away.
5) If you smash someone repeatedly in the face with a tennis racket they only wind up with a broken nose.
6) In France nobody calls the police if they've been beaten to a pulp.
7) Actresses can play schoolgirls even if they're clearly ten years too old for the part.
8) Having sex against a classroom wall with someone means you've "given them your heart and soul".
9) It's really easy to acquire dynamite in a small Normandy town.
10) Vicious, murdering thugs are truly loveable.

Most of all what I learned is I really hate mean-spirited films that don't know what genre they belong in.
44 comments| 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 14 January 2016
Despite the A list cast of De Niro, Pfeiffer & director Luc Besson this is at best only ok. This is very much tongue in cheek humour with lots of contrived scenes, violence and the added bonus of the local French villagers all able to speak English? I can see on paper this looked like it could be lol but sadly not for grown ups. Shame. We're The Millers with Jennifer Aniston is much better and funnier.
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