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A mafia boss and his family are relocated to a sleepy town in France under the witness protection program after snitching on the mob. Despite the best efforts of CIA Agent Stansfield (Tommy Lee Jones) to keep them in line, Fred Manzoni (Robert De Niro), his wife Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer) and their children Belle (Dianna Agron) and Warren (John D'Leo) can't help but revert to old habits and blow their cover by handling their problems the "family" way, enabling their former mafia cronies to track them down. Chaos ensues as old scores are settled in the unlikeliest of settings. Written by Minoesch
Plot Keywords:mafia|france|family dog|barbeque grill|girl beating up a boy| See All (260) »
Taglines:Dianna Agron is the mobgirl next door See more »
Genres:Comedy | Crime | Thriller
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)Rated R for violence, language and brief sexuality| See all certifications »
Parents Guide:View content advisory »
Official Sites:Official Facebook|Official site [Japan]|See more »
Release Date:13 September 2013 (USA) See more »
Also Known As:Malavita See more »
Filming Locations:Studios de Paris, La Cité du Cinéma, Saint-Denis, Seine-Saint-Denis, FranceSee more »
Opening Weekend USA:$14,034,764, 15 September 2013, Wide Release
Cumulative Worldwide Gross:$78,418,811 See more on IMDbPro »
Production Co:EuropaCorp, Relativity Media, TF1 Films ProductionSee more »
Show more on IMDbPro »
Sound Mix:Datasat|Dolby Digital|SDDS|Dolby Surround 7.1
Color:Color| Black and White
Aspect Ratio:2.35 : 1 See full technical specs »
Did You Know?
TriviaThe source novel's title, Malavita, is the name of the family dog. See more »
GoofsAt the auditorium when the movie Goodfellas starts, the line "as far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster" can be heard followed by the musical queue. Yet, this is not the opening line but rather "what's that noise?" referring to a man in the trunk of a car. The famous line by Ray Liotta isn't heard until the first minute of the movie. See more »
QuotesPriest: Your confession has haunted me all week. How can you live such a hellish existence?
Maggie Blake: Isn't that the point of confession?
Priest: Your family is the incarnation of evil, and your life is a never-ending pact with the devil! Leave this holy place, for the love of God!
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Crazy CreditsAt the beginning, the words "father", "mother", "son" and "daughter" are shown and intersected. Some of the letters vanish, and the remaining ones spell the film's title. See more »
ConnectionsFeatured in The Graham Norton Show: Robert De Niro/Michelle Pfeiffer/Jennifer Saunders/Cher (2013) See more »
Written by Timothy Stithem, David Jones
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When properly applied, bad taste can have a wonderfully liberating, palliative effect, and contemporary French cinema has produced few more discerning mainstream vulgarians than Luc Besson. But without any sense of joy in transgression, or real humor behind all the bloody irony, his mafia comedy “The Family” falls flat. Curiously airless, weightless and tonally uncertain, the pic mixes mass murder, dismemberment and rape threats with sappy sentimentality, fish-out-of-water gags and groan-worthy meta-humor, yet very little of it manages to leave any impression. Worth seeing only to catch cast standout Michelle Pfeiffer recapture hints of the knives-out nastiness of her “Scarface” and “Married to the Mob” roles, this Relativity release nonetheless ought to do decent business.
It isn’t that “The Family” doesn’t have any good ideas. In fact, it might have too many. Picking up with a mafia family as they arrive at a creaky house in Normandy — the latest of many witness-relocation destinations for Brooklyn wiseguy-turned-snitch Giovanni Manzoni (Robert De Niro) — Besson would seem to have a full palette with which to paint. Watching Giovanni employ leg-breaking tactics to negotiate buck-passing French bureaucracy theoretically ought to resonate with disgruntled expats and Francophobes. (And in surer hands, De Niro’s role as a domesticated heavy still very much in touch with his sociopathic tendencies could have been a sly upending of his “Analyze This” and “Meet the Parents” parts.) Then there’s his 17-year-old daughter, Belle (Dianna Agron), whose sudden shifts from moony high-school romanticism to brutal violence would seem to have plenty of potential. And the Cosa Nostra strategies 14-year-old Warren (John D’Leo) uses to negotiate lycee politics could have perhaps made for a whole film on their own.
None of these are the most original of conceits (and the script never bothers to complicate or question any of its dunderheaded-Americans/effete-Frenchmen stereotypes), though they ought to at least be expected to provide decent distraction from the central plotline pitting Giovanni against a tireless would-be assassin (Jimmy Palumbo). But the film never seems aware it can follow any of these paths to interesting destinations, instead simply tossing a handful of one-joke sketches into a narrative Cuisinart and serving the resulting puree raw.
Always an efficient orchestrator of balls-out ultraviolence, Besson has never quite grasped the rhythms of English-language comedy, and his earlier English pictures, like “The Fifth Element,” largely succeeded through megalomaniacal moxie alone. “The Family” showcases a slower, quieter strain of Besson’s signature style, yet it’s scarcely any smarter, and even its better comedic ideas wind up diluted by overly orchestrated setups or fumbled payoffs.
There’s no guilty glee in the sight of mob mother Maggie (Pfeiffer) blowing up a grocery store whose proprietor dares scoff at her peanut-butter fixation, and the explanation for an early scene in which the supposedly undercover family throws a barbecue for the entire town seems to have been left on the cutting-room floor. (The less said about the Martin Scorsese reference, the better.) For a film set in Normandy from a French writer-director (Besson and Michael Caleo adapted the script from Tonino Benacquista’s novel), it never even feels particularly French: Having every character onscreen speak perfect English is obviously a commercial necessity, yet it’s scarcely acknowledged that this is not the town’s native language.
These minor quibbles aside, “The Family” is technically well made, and Besson is still capable of staging horrifying murders and torture scenes in a uniquely casual, matter-of-fact way. A characteristically sharp Pfeiffer provides most of the pic’s genuine laughs and nearest attempts at actual empathy, and it must be said that De Niro is at least never caught sleepwalking. Tommy Lee Jones, however, seems entirely disengaged in his scenes as Giovanni’s FBI handler.
Film Review: 'The Family'
Reviewed at the Landmark, Los Angeles, Sept. 11, 2013. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 111 MIN.
A Relativity Media release of a Relativity and EuropaCorp presentation of a Relativity, EuropaCorp, TF1 Films, Grive Prods. production. Produced by Virginie Besson-Silla, Ryan Kavanaugh. Executive producers, Martin Scorsese, Tucker Tooley. Co-executive producers, Ron Burkle, Jason Colbeck.
Directed by Luc Besson. Screenplay, Besson, Michael Caleo, from the novel “Malavita” by Tonino Benacquista. Camera (color), Thierry Arbogast; editor, Julien Rey; music, Evgueni Galperine, Sacha Galperine; production designer, Hugues Tissandier; costume designer, Olivier Beriot; art directors, Gilles Boillot, Eric Dean, Dominique Moisan, Stephane Robuchon, Thierry Zemmour; sound (Dolby Digital/SDDS/Datasat), Didier Lozahic, Ken Yasumoto; re-recording mixer, Matthieu Dallaporta; assistant director; Ludovic Bernanrd; casting, Nathalie Cheron, Amanda Mackey Johnson.
Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianna Agron, John D’Leo, Tommy Lee Jones, Jimmy Palumbo, Domenick Lombardozzi.
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