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The Blue & Gray Press | February 20, 2018

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“The Family” is full of dark humor and family values

family4webBy SARAH DEFFENBAUGH

Imagine Pixar Animation Studio’s “The Incredibles” combined with your favorite mobster movie. The result is Luc Besson’s recently released, “The Family.”
“The Family” is a delightfully dark comedy with an impressive cast featuring Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tommy Lee Jones and Dianna Agron.
The movie is told from Giovanni Manzoni’s (De Niro) point of view as he chronicles his life via an old typewriter.  The movie begins with the relocation of Giovanni and his family to a small sleepy village in Normandy, France. After ratting out his fellow mobsters, Giovanni was placed in the witness protection agency.
While in France, the entire family faces a multitude of problems, including a lack of peanut butter, ancient plumbing, too much cream, creepy locals and presence of the Mafia itself.
Each member of the Manzoni family attempts to exercise their violent mobster urges in different ways.
The patriarch, Giovanni, employs his own unique brand of justice, which involves a baseball bat, a sledgehammer and a trip to the hospital for those who were deemed to “deserve” it. The audience sees Giovanni’s justice taken out on crook plumbers and fertilizer plant executives as well.
While the mother (Pfeiffer) makes daily visits to church to pray for her family, she also displays a quick temper and a penchant for blowing up local super markets that disrespect her.
Using their mobster lineage as inspiration, the children, Belle (Agron) and Warren (John D’Leo) navigate their way through high school in a non-traditional manner.
17 year-old Belle deals with unwanted advances by repeatedly smashing a tennis racket into her assailant’s face, while her 14 year-old brother, Warren, uses bribery, bullying and blackmail to ensure his protection and power amongst his peers.
“The Family” sports witty dialogue, action packed sequences and impressive performances from the whole cast, particularly De Niro and Pfeiffer, who seem to thoroughly enjoy their roles.
However, there are plot lines that disrupt the pace and flow of the overall movie and keep the film from being great, instead, it is just good.
“The Family’ is filled with blood, obscenity and an oddly endearing portrayal of the importance of family values.
Although the film has its fair share slow moments, it offers enough off-kilter dark charm and cheerfully violent humor to make it a movie worth seeing.