The Family [2013] ★★

the-family-poster-389x600Robert DeNiro plays a mobster in “The Family”, the new movie from director Luc Besson (“The Professional”, “La Femme Nikita”). Last time he played the role of a mob was…10 minutes ago? Anyway he and his family are put in the witness protection program in Normandy (France, just in case), after daddy DeNiro ratted out his former pals back in Brooklyn. Once there, the wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) burns down a supermarket, the son is bullied at school and the daughter beats up the first guy who touches her. At first you grin watching De Niro and his family go crazy. But then things turn from fun to achingly violent and predictable. You can’t blame the actors who try their best with the material at hand, notably DeNiro who’s usually a pleasure to watch in almost anything (except maybe “Killing Season“). And I have no objection to him poking fun at himself and the mob life. But his heart’s not in it anymore. Neither is director Luc Besson’s touch. Too bad. “The Family” had me going there for a while, effectively killing time until it killed my patience.

Rating: 2/4

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