Screen Gems Movie Reviews
with Kennie Bass. You'll find it First On Fox!

The Family September 13, 2013
The Family
Studio: EuropaCorp
Rating: R for violence, language and brief sexuality.

Giovanni Manzoni (Robert DeNiro) is a big deal in the mafia, right until the moment he snitches on his bosses.

That sets up the premise for "The Family" as Manzoni, his wife Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer) and two kids Belle (Dianna Agron) and Warren (John D'Leo) are packed off ot a witness protection program in Normandy, France.

As you can imagine, the mob wants Manzoni, who now goes by the names of Fred Blake, and his loved ones dead. It's up to a CIA agent assigned to the family (Tommy Lee Jones) to make sure that doesn't happen.

But even though they should be laying low, the Manzoni's have a tough time fitting in. Soon the begin reverting to their old ways of violenc and mayhem which puts them in danger of attracting the wrong kind of attention.

Although there are some laughs, this is far from a straight comedy. Written and directed by Luc Besson, "The Family" is a mix of humor and bloody violence.

At this point in his career, De Niro could play a mobster in his sleep. Thankfully he gives more effort than that here and the interactions of the Manzoni family are some of the movie's best moments.

But although he's the main bad guy, Fred isn't the only member of his family carrying around some baggage. His wife has been so bad she shocks a priest when she goes to confession. And the apple doesn't far fall from the tree as Manzoni's teenaged daughter and son wreak their own kind of havoc.

As the film moves to its conclusion a lot of the comedy falls away as we're treated to more and more stylized violence. It's hard to strike a balance with this kind of movie, but for the most part "The Family" pulls it off.

As long as you know going in that the film deserves its "R" rating, you should be okay. Some of the material definitely isn't appropriate for younger viewers.

On my rating scale, "The Family" earns a DOUBLE. It's uneven, but for the most part the movie succeeds.

Screen Gems Score


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