Starring: Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfieffer, Tommy Lee Jones, Dianna Agron, John D’Leo
Directed by: Luc Besson
Synopsis: The Manzoni family, a notorious Mafia clan, is relocated to Normandy, France under the witness protection program, where fitting in soon becomes a problem, as old habits die hard.
I remember seeing the early word about this film on IMDb when it was titled Malavita, and getting excited about the thought of De Niro playing another gangster role. I was hoping for Goodfellas or Casino, Unfortunately what I got was more Analyze This crossed with Meet The Parents. That’s not to say the film is bad, as it does have some redeeming features, but I just felt this is another ‘lazy’ De Niro film where he doesn’t have to bother. I’d love to have a career overhaul and see the last film Bobby put in a decent, potentially award winning performance, but I really can’t remember the last one.
First things first, this has three top notch performers in it. All of advancing years but all good actors (De Niro, Pfeiffer and Jones). So far so good. Next up, it has a fairly decent premise whichever way you look at it. You could say it would be a good drama, about a mafia family under witness protection, only to be found by another crime family. Or you could go another way and also say it sounds like a good idea for a comedy. A mafia family find it hard to get rid of their old ‘habits’ in a small French village. The reality is, the film falls between the two, maybe leaning slightly towards comedy, and as a result, was just kind of, nothing.
There were moments of comedy, followed by lots of blowing things up and guns going off. Personally I think it would have been great to see De Niro ditch the comedy and play this as the straight drama version in my mind. I think that would have been a cool movie. There is even a scene where Bob’s character is watching Goodfellas! Oh the irony (and not to mention the impossibility of De Niro watching De Niro in another film AS SOME ONE ELSE?!!)
Oh well, there’s always the next De Niro flick I guess. Or the next one. Or the one after that. Maybe?