Based on the novel by French author Tonino Benacquista and written/directed by filmmaking legend Luc Besson (‘Leon’ 94, ‘The Fifth Element’ 97), this English language film sees the family of one Giovanni Manzoni, a former member of the Brooklyn mafia, under witness protection with his family in Normandy, France, after bad blood and attempted assassination forced him to testify against one of the other crime lords. It’s a black comedy, as the family’s violent traits find themselves at odds with the quaint/rustic/backward way of life in their small town. Unfortunately, the gags are all very predictable and although Besson stages his familiar action set pieces well, his inexperience with comedy does show.
The central cast all do a good job – with Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianna Agron and John D’Leo embodying the main family, and Tommy Lee Jones playing the FBI agent assigned to try and manage their protection. It’s a very likeable film, it’s just not anything more than that. Although the scene where Giovanni is invited by the town to watch and discuss a classic movie of American cinema, is quite wonderful.