Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer share the screen in “The Family” as mafia married couple Mr. and Mrs. Giovanni Manzoni who are in the witness protection program with their two teenage children. The couple is now Fred and Maggie Blake and have been placed in Normandy, France, but are from Brooklyn, which you figure out from flashbacks and the in and out East Coast accent that Pfeiffer has.
Their children Belle (Dianna Agron) and Warren (John D’Leo) are trying to fit in at their new school, which isn’t the easiest endeavor considering their family’s history and the fact that they move nearly every other month to keep hidden away from the remaining mafia members that are after their dad. In a strange, stoic way, Belle reminded me of Wednesday Addams and was more memorable than her brother, but neither one of them made a lasting impression.
With this assortment of characters, you’d think there’d be more action, more excitement, more something. That doesn’t come until the very end while the lead up is just your average, dysfunctional family trying to blend in and make friends with their neighbors. There are the isolated violent, but comical events like when Maggie blows up the grocery store or when Fred takes a hammer to the plumber’s kneecap for not fixing their brown water problem. However, even with this extreme behavior, the family seems sort of pedestrian. Of course, this family has an agent (Tommy Lee Jones) looking out for them while the ones that are looking for Giovanni are stopping at nothing to find him. It is only when the two families meet again that the entertainment seems to truly begin.
Final words: The characters are likable, the story amusing, but the final product seems stale.