The Family – review

Robert De Niro does further damage to his reputation in this mafia comedy pileup

There is a moment in Luc Besson's comedy drama about a mafia snitch hiding out in Normandy when Michelle Pfeiffer pays for some shopping in francs. Suddenly, the scales fall, the clouds part and the whole thing seems to make a sort of sense. For if you'd made a film as bad as The Family, you too might try to sit on it for a dozen years, dusting it down only when some sort of legal requirement demanded cinematic release.

But no. This is an actual brand new film. And the de trop currency, or at least the absent-mindedness about telling us it's set in the last century, is just another baffling detail in the formidable pileup. Robert De Niro does further damage to a reputation much battered by The Big Wedding. The actors playing his and Pfeiffer's children have an unnervingly flirty dynamic. Tight framing increases scepticism about how much was actually shot outside LA. There are jokey bouts of GBH and an attempted rape. The collateral damage involving innocent bystanders is staggering. Just mind you don't get caught in the crossfire.

Contributor

Catherine Shoard

The GuardianTramp

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