Good movies are able to capture and maintain a desired tone, which gives the film a unique feel. But there are many bad movies which can’t seem to decide what tone it wants to take. The Family is one of those.
The Family seeing Robert De Niro as a mobster who is hiding in France with his wife and kids through the witness protection program. Its supposed to be a comedy, I think. There aren’t really any funny parts though. Regardless, it seems like it wants to be a lighter side look at a mob family, and it does at least attempt humour. Yet the tone it sets up is completely contradicted later on with the actual mob elements. A light mob comedy should not be having gangsters killing innocent people left and right, not should it enter the other dark places it sometimes goes. Its nothing but jarring and uncomfortable. There is absolutely no consistency to the tone here.
Not only that, but even when it sticks to the lighter side stuff, it just feels like a family sitcom where all four characters have their own subplots going on. And none of them are interesting. Combine this with a fingernail-on-the-chalkboard performance by Michelle Pfiefer, a fourth wall reference with De Niro actually watching Goodfellas, and a ridiculously constructed coincidence which finally moves the plot forward, and you’ve got yourself the makings of a really lame effort.