Verdict: 3 / 5
The Manzoni (now Blake) family is most likely the worst family in the history of the witness protection programme. In-between beating people up, burying bodies in their back yard and blowing up grocery stores they can’t seem to keep under the radar.
It is refreshing to see a dark and off-beat comedy centred on the Italian Mafia. Suddenly the Godfather becomes more like your strange and eccentric grandfather. With that analogy in play it has to be said that this comedy is not just a new Grumpy Old Men as the analogy may allude to, it is still full of wit, action and adventure that ensures that you are kept entertained throughout the 1 hour and 40 minutes.
This movie was released as Malavita as it is based on Benacquista’s novel by the same name, which is translated to Badfellas in the 2010 English translation. The story plays out in Normandy, France, which is the latest hiding spot for the Manzoni family who are hiding from their past. Mafia boss Giovanni Manzoni (Robert De Niro) and his family are now under the supervision of Agent Robert Stansfield (Tommy Lee Jones) as they attempt to rebuild their lives and avoid Luchese and his cronies.
The Family has everything you would expect from a good middle of the range film, the storylines are full without being overcrowded with details, each actor holds his or her own and makes the film well rounded and full bodied. The nuances and running gags are entertaining and it has a pleasing ending.
It will not take home the title of an Italian Mafia classic but it will keep you entertained and give you a giggle as this family desperately try to suppress their natural instincts and their mob mentality. One thing is for sure, you would never want to get in the way of this family. They are rather talented in taking people out.
Fred Blake: Is everything alright?
Maggie Blake: Nothing much, just the prospect of packing up and moving again when they find out you killed the plumber.
Fred Blake: I didn’t kill him, I took him to the hospital.
Maggie Blake: Why’d you beat him to a pulp? He’s the only plumber within a radius of 20 miles.
Fred Blake: But he disrespected us and he made you wait on him, honey.
Maggie Blake: Geez, honey, I survived.
Fred Blake: And you know the guy was trying to rip me off, so put yourself in my shoes.
Maggie Blake: Oh, I definitely wouldn’t have beaten him up. I mean, who’s gonna fix the pipes now?
Fred Blake: Well who’s gonna rebuild the supermarket that burned down the day we got here? Huh?