Review: MALAVITA (2013) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Review: MALAVITA (2013)

A tone-deaf, painfully overlong and mostly unfunny mob comedy that wasted the talents of Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones.

Otherwise known as THE FAMILY in the US release, MALAVITA is a mob comedy blessed with a trio of top-notch talents (Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones), executive produced by none others than Martin Scorsese himself and directed by the renowned Euro action specialist Luc Besson. However, despite all the recognizable talents involved in this movie, MALAVITA is shockingly unfunny (for the most of it) and even the minor presence of violent-filled action sequences (always Besson's forte) are lazily executed.


Robert De Niro stars as a Brooklyn mob boss named Giovanni Manzoni who is now carries a new name called Fred Blake. He, along with his wife Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer) and two teenage children, Belle (Dianna Agron) and Warren (John D'Leo), is relocated from their home in Brooklyn to a small town in Normandy, France as part of the witness protection program for snitching on his Mafia family. FBI agent-in-charge Robert Stansfield (Tommy Lee Jones) is assigned to check on them regularly and ensure their safety at all cost. As time goes by, Fred begins to write his memoirs over his old typewriter while Maggie starts visiting church during off hours from time to time. Meanwhile, Belle falls for her handsome and bespectacled math tutor and Warren finds time making money operating an illegal prescription drug ring at their high school. Everything seems to be looking fine for the Manzonis, even though they tend to get themselves into troubles, until one day, a group of mob killers finally manage to track them down.

Some of the comedy elements (especially the one involves Fred's violent method of dealing annoying individuals that tries to waste his time) are fairly worthwhile.

It's a shame that the would-be strong cast here are sadly neglected into thankless roles all around. Both De Niro, Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones are basically sleepwalking throughout their (mostly) lifeless performances.

The script, which is adapted from Tonino Benacquista's novel, by Luc Besson and Michael Caleo, is no doubt among the worst novel-to-movie adaptation I've ever seen in a long while. As a mob comedy, the movie feels stale. Even a would-be inspiring scene involving Fred joins a debate after watching Martin Scorsese's GOODFELLAS is particularly useless. Then by the time the movie climaxes with an inevitable shootout scene at the finale, Luc Besson can't even sustain a certain level of excitement whatsoever. Lastly, at two-hour long, the movie is simply a tired slog.


MALAVITA is seriously a waste of time, and definitely ranked as one of the worst movies of the year.

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