The Family

  First Hit:  There were amusing moments but it was more of a drama than dark comedy and in this realm it was unexceptional.

Frank Blake (AKA Giovanni Manzoni played by Robert De Niro) is hiding out in France with his family; wife Maggie Blake (Michelle Pfeiffer), daughter Belle Blake (Dianna Agron) and son Warren Blake (John D’Leo). Blake/Manzoni is hiding out in France because he’s in a witness protection program headed by Robert Stansfield (Tommy Lee Jones).

His whole family cannot seem to hide out innocuously therefore Stansfeld has been moving them every 60 days. They just can't seem to stop causing trouble and bring attention to themselves wherever they move. Because Manzoni ratted on another Mafia boss thereby sending him to prison, he and his family are the active targets for assassination by the boss’s henchmen.

Where this film is fun and interesting is when either child is leading the scene or when Maggie is working her magic. Maggie gets pissed that a French store owner demeans her behind her back, so she blows up the store. Daughter Belle brutally takes care of French boys who have no manners, while son Warren sizes up everything and everyone and then arranges things to his advantage.

This is where the comedy comes and then goes. Maggie’s attitude toward each scene, showing her softer side or her hard New York City wasp side is fabulous. When the kids come together to save the family, the action part of this film comes together.

De Niro, although the primary male role, didn’t steal this film, his family did. Pfeiffer was fabulous. Her accent, attitude and actions were fully engaging and kept me interested in her scenes. Agron was really great. I enjoyed her strength and softness and felt she did a great job of embodying them. D’Leo was very strong as the young son who has embodied his dad’s wiliness, street smarts and the ability to put two and two together quickly. Jones seemed tired and uninterested in this role. Luc Besson and Michael Caleo wrote a confused script. If it was to be more of a black comedy, they needed more humor, if they were going strictly action, they needed better setups. Luc Besson directed this without a clear focus of the type/genre it was to be.

Overall:  Although the film didn’t really know its focus, many of the scenes were very enjoyable.