Jack Goes Confidential: ‘The Family’ Underperforms Expectations

The-Family-2013-Movie-Poster1I hate it when I let my expectations get the best of me…

And it happened again THIS week. The film in question was THE FAMILY which returns Robert DeNiro to his mob guy roots and is centered squarely on the Witness Protection Program.

This time DeNiro plays an on the lam whistle blower. An ex-mobster turned snitch trying to stay a step ahead of incarcerated mobsters working with the outside to locate him and his family to seek revenge.

The movie opens as the family – including tough wifey Michelle Pfeiffer – and their kids Dianna (Glee) Agron and John D’Leo are arriving at their latest hideout location: a small village in Normandy, France. 

Of course the locals are snotty towards the Americans moving into their French domain.

When Pfeiffer asks about peanut butter at the local market she gets sneared at—which promptly results in her blowing up the joint.

the-family-movie-poster-20Anger management, anyone?

Ditto with the kids at school who fight the class bullies with their own doses of good old fashioned wise guy medicine.

And dad?

Well, DeNiro probably has the shortest fuse in the family. When he gets the runaround from a local plumber, he fixes HIS pipes instead.

It all plays to the chagrin of F.B.I. agent Tommy Lee Jones who is charged with overseeing the welfare of the relocated and renamed Blake family.

Very violent and downright gruesome at times as all four members of the Blake bunch handle matters the R rated family-WAY!

The best scene comes at a local film society festival where DeNiro, who’s presumed to be an author, is invited to comment at the screening of an American classic.

The movie is Martin Scorsese’s GOODFELLAS starring Robert DeNiro.

Clever. Clever. Clever.

It all sounds pretty promising but it just doesn’t come off very well on the screen.

Sure it’s a subversive, dark comedy. But its director/writer Luc Besson of  LE FEMME NIKITA and TAKEN fame just doesn’t quite pull it off here.

Making matters worse, Tommy Lee Jones looks like he phoned in his performance and Michelle Pfeiffer is just walking through hers.

DeNiro, Pfeiffer, Jones and Besson. One would expect more.

THE FAMILY gets a C-

(Reviewed at AMC Town Center.)

JACK GOES TO THE MOVIES Friday mornings at 6:40 a.m. and 8:40 a.m. on KMBZ FM & AM / Also Saturday mornings on WeekendKc.Net / And anytime on Time Warner Cable’s K.C. ON DEMAND-Channel 411.

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7 Responses to Jack Goes Confidential: ‘The Family’ Underperforms Expectations

  1. chuck says:

    De Niro has been mailing it in for a long, long time.

  2. jack p. says:

    Chuck, I agree with you—to a point.
    Some of his recent starring and/or co-starring roles have been embarassing at best. Do I need to mention “THE BIG WEDDING???”—No I’d rather forget!
    But then again in lesser roles like “SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK” DeNiro shines.

    Someone should help him select roles. But then again we all (sometimes) do less-than-proud things for a paycheck.

  3. Hot Carl says:

    DeNiro’s been in absolute dreck for almost 2 decades now. At what point will he wake up and realize he’s tarnished his image almost beyond repair? I know all these guys have a clunker every once in a while but his “this movie will suck” radar needs a serious fine tuning.

  4. rkcal says:

    I imagine DeNiro has the same problem every aging actor has….slim pickings in the script department.

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