Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Family

*1/2 out of ****

Also failing to inspire laughs in theaters, is Luc Besson’s The Family, a weird dark comedy about a mob-tied family of four forced to live in Normandy, France under witness protection. I walked in with little faith that the man who hasn’t directed a good movie since The Fifth Element, would be making anything remarkable. Halfway through, I knew that I wasn’t laughing, but at least I wasn’t bored. A few minutes later I became extremely bored.

For a good portion of the movie, I was too dumbfounded by its dated sensibility to have any emotional reaction to it. I swear, if it hadn’t been for the wear and tear look of the film’s stars, Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones, I would have thought this was an action comedy that had been shelved some time prior to 9/11. There’s even a music track by Gorillaz.

In a nutshell, a snitch (De Niro) and his family try to integrate themselves to a simple French culture but can’t break out of their good ol’ violence and intimidation tendencies. Later, the Mob finds out where they are hiding and comes after them. That’s it. This kind of comedy worked better with The Addams Family.

This is one of those movies where everything I may have liked about a director in the past comes to be what I hate about him now. Besson’s comedy revolves around the notion that the shocking actions of a sociopath, no matter how uncreative, are funny. His obsession with young girls (Dianna Agron plays the smokin’ hot teenage daughter) is creepy now that I’m not a teenager anymore. Finally, his need for a gigantic climactic shoot-out delivers no stylistic method that hasn’t been improved-on or done to death since his work on The Professional (“Léon”) in 1994.

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