Robert De Niro as Fred Blake/Giovanni Manzoni
Michelle Pfeiffer as Maggie Blake
Dianna Agron as Belle Blake
John D’Leo as Warren Blake
Tommy Lee Jones as Robert Stansfield
In theaters September 13
Fred, Maggie, Belle, and Warren Blake are your seemingly typical American family who have just moved into a new home in the Normandy region of France. At first glance the “Blakes” seem like a normal American family settling into a new home in a sleepy little village. Except the “Blakes” are anything but normal. Family head “Fred Blake” is really Giovanni Manzoni, retired mobster. Once a member of the Don Luchese crew from Brooklyn, New York, Giovanni informed on the Don and he and his family were put into witness protection in Europe. We meet the family as they once again relocate. Their previous posting had been on the French Rivera, but as their old habits die hard, their FBI Handler, Agent Stansfield (Jones) again moves them before they draw too much attention to themselves.
So they are moved to a quiet little village in Normandy. The Blakes begin to settle into their new environment, but it doesn’t take long for old habits to resurface. Giovanni has a not too subtle run in with a patronizing plumber who had it coming. Maggie (Pfeiffer) overhears a local grocer rips on “stupid greedy Americans” (he assumed that Maggie couldn’t speak French), she adjusts his attitude in an explosive manner. Belle and Warren face the challenge of high school. As the new kid and the American, Warren gets jumped and beaten the first day. Warren quickly begins to put together his own network of corruption to retaliate. A group of local boys try to take Belle for a ride to “get to know her better”. Belle (Agron), not a girl who lets anyone get the drop on her, shows them her tennis moves.
Slowly but surely, the Blakes settle in. Giovanni came up with a cover story that he is a writer and actually begins to write his memoirs, much to the worry of agent Stansfield who advises him against it. Giovanni, has no real thoughts of publishing it, he just wants to get it out, if only just for himself. Giovanni’s not such a bad guy, really. He’s a guy just trying to get along and come to terms with his past and who he is, while trying to get to the bottom of why the water that comes out of his tap is brown. The fact that he laid the plumber up in traction because the plumber was trying to shake him down for the repairs, is incidental.
Meanwhile in prison Don Luchese’s reach is long. He has a hit man out looking for Giovanni’s family. One day through a crazy twist of events, a school assignment of Warren’s puts the Don on their trail. He now knows where to find the family and a hit squad is on its way to Normandy. Can the Blakes survive the oncoming onslaught? Can the town?
Director (and Producer of the movie Taken) Luc Besson has given us an interesting take on action comedy. It helps that he surrounded himself with A-listers like De Niro, always at home in this kind of a role, Pfeiffer who is “married to the mob” once again, and Jones, grumpy as ever as the crusty FBI agent that has to keep his charges out of the line of fire. Glee’s Diana Agron makes a great mob princess who seeks the love of a student teacher to carry her away from her crazy life. The Family is fun and a great time at the movies. If Martin Scorsese had made a mob comedy, this would be it. Truly funny, I think The Family is worth a look.
5 out of 5 Stars
Check out the trailer for “THE FAMILY” below: