Looking and acting like he just rolled out of bed, Robert De Niro plays a former New York mafioso who under the witness protection program gets relocated to Normandy, France, along with his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) and teenage kids. The setup of Luc Besson's comedy suggests a predictable fish-out-of-water sitcom, though it's somewhat better than that. Much of the humor revolves around popular French perceptions of American culture, with De Niro, Pfeiffer, and Tommy Lee Jones agreeably spoofing their screen personas and American stereotypes in general. Besson, who’s made a fortune writing and producing such Hollywood-style thrillers as Taken
and the Transporter
series, clearly loves these types for their earthiness and determination, even when he’s mocking them for being pushy, violent, and narrow-minded. The movie gets a surprising level of mileage from this core ambivalence, and the visual humor can be inventive and lively.
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The Family features Robert De Niro parodying not just his past films but Americans abroad.