The Family (2013)

In a shocking turn of events, Robert De Niro plays an Italian mobster.
I know - I'm just as stunned as you are.

This movie is directed by Luc Besson who did the excellent action movie The Transporter, the almost as good Transporter 2, and he also directed a movie called Transporter 3. So, he has action movie directing chops, but it would be hard to imagine a 70-year-old Robert De Niro doing a whole lot of action scenes.

Bobby plays a mobster who ratted out his mob family in exchange for witness protection. As he only ever knew how to make a living illegally, he keeps getting into trouble and needing to be moved around. At the same time, the Family is looking for him, as they have not forgiven his betrayal. So, every place they move to, he has a new name and has to make up a profession. He quickly discovers how hard it is to pretend to be an expert on things with only a cursory understanding of them.

Michelle Pfeiffer is the wife who has quite a mean streak. As they are in France, the dislike of Americans is overt and palpable. As she will not put up with the insults and disdain, she also tends to get in a bit of trouble for things like blowing up grocery stores and such.

The kids have their own issues, but they have been through the process of moving enough that they have the whole thing down to a bit of a science. The boy figures out the school power players and manipulates the situation to his benefit. The girl deals with the French kids by being unusually cruel and beating them senseless.

Tying it all together are two protection officers and the lead government stooge, Tommy Lee Jones. Tommy has a comparatively small role in the film, but he does his job fairly well. I mean, he has deadpan bitter, old man really down pat at this point. It's kind of his fallback for every role he does at this point.

The whole movie has a feel very similar to the fairly uninteresting Netflix series, Lilyhammer. It's certainly better than that, though. The acting talent pool is a lot deeper for this movie, and the writing is way better, but the movie is pretty much predictable.

2.75/5

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