So I have been back home in NJ for the past week dealing with some family issues, when my little brother (he’s 22, so not that little) suggested we go see a movie. After a quick check of what was out, we settled on seeing The Family with Robert DeNiro and Michelle Pfeiffer. I mean what’s better than a little mob flick, while you’re back home in North Jersey? To be fair, we didn’t have high expectations for this film, but thought these two ‘Oscar’ quality stars couldn’t put out a terrible movie… we were absolutely wrong.
The basic plot of the movie is as follows: DeNiro is retired mob boss, who’s hiding in France as part of the witness protection program with his wife (Pfeiffer) and two kids. DeNiro (who is fooling no one posing as a war novelist) and Pfeiffer, apparently, keep causing so much trouble trying to “fit in”, that they are constantly having to be relocated by their attending FBI agent (Tommy Lee Jones). Meanwhile, as with any mob informant, the bosses back in New York are trying to find and exterminate DeNiro and his family. Honestly, you need to know NOTHING more about this movie.
The movie contains a wealth of cliche’s and stereotypical jokes about mobsters there is hardly an original joke in the entire movie.
Why does dad need to write a book, when he can literally summarize the entire english language in a single word…’Fuck’
Seriously? We’re back on how many ways Italian’s can use the word fuck – why not just flat out rip off the Donnie Brasco, “forget about it” conversation?
DeNiro is his usual emotionally vulnerable, but still deadly killer mobster character – but when he beats the crap out of a french plumber for giving him a jacked up bill, it just falls flat. Pfeiffer, meanwhile, is ridiculous as this over the top “Brooklyn” mobster housewife, who’s accent fades in and out throughout the entire movie. Not to mention the fact that…. well… DAMN she looks old. What happened to the ‘little pussy cat’ from Scarface? Time did her no favors. The only, slightly, saving grace to this movie are their two kids played by Glee’s Dianna Agron and newcomer John D’Leo.
Dianna is the object of every guy’s attention, with a penchant for violence (beating a guy with a tennis racket who tries to make a move on her) and D’Leo is a little hustler, who could be brought up on high school racketeering charges by the end of the movie. In reality, these two should have been the main characters in what could have been a kids/teens comedy along the lines of a Kickass or House Arrest (for anyone who remembers that movie, it’s a damn classic). Dianna, I can’t lie, is pretty hot and it was comforting to find out that she’s 26 so I’m not a creep for thinking that. But again, when this is what you’re walking away from a DeNiro movie thinking, it’s a major problem.
At the end of the day this movie is a lazy effort, that has few to no really hard laughing moments. I can’t even be mad at the $30 the movie cost, because honestly what was I expecting? I can’t even say I had hopes for an Analyze This level comedy, because 5 seconds of the trailer will tell you it’s got no hope for that. It’s sad too, because I just can’t figure out what DeNiro is doing with his career at the moment. While I’ll leave that for another post, let me just say that there is no need to see this movie, download this movie, or even watch it when it’s on TNT 22 times in a row in February 2015. The best part of this movie were the previews, which after a terrible summer for movies, has me totally stoked for the fall/winter.
My review score on a scale of 1 – 10?
If you’re under 18 – I give it a 6
If you’re over 18 – I give it a 3