Gangster comedies like The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight and Some Like It Hot are early examples of gangland gigglers.
This weekend Robert De Niro, who won an Oscar playing Vito Corleone in The Godfather: Part II, and Michelle Pfeiffer, who played a gangster’s moll in Scarface, team up for The Family, a darkly comedic mafia movie.
The film also features Sopranos’ star Dominic “Junior Soprano” Chianese and Vincent “Big Pussy” Pastore in a story about notorious crime family the Manzoni’s, who find themselves relocated to Normandy, France as part of the witness protection program. Trouble is, they have some difficulty blending in with the locals.
This isn’t the first time De Niro has played his tough guy image for laughs. In Analyze This and its sequel Analyze That, he’s Paul Vitti, a mob boss who suffers from panic attacks. To help him through he hires psychiatrist Dr. Ben Sobel (Billy Crystal). “What is my goal here?” asks the doctor. “To make you a happy, well-adjusted gangster?” The first movie was a big hit—both commercially and critically but the second one didn’t fare as well. Roger Ebert wrote, “what seemed like a clever idea the first time feels like a retread the second.”
In the Whole Nine Yards former hit man Jimmy the Tulip has trouble adapting to life on the right side of the law. As played by Bruce Willis he’s in hiding after ratting out members of Chicago’s deadly Gogolak gang. When his identity is discovered by his neighbor (Matthew Perry) Jimmy has to reluctantly revert to old habits to survive. “It’s not important how many people I’ve killed,” he says. “What’s important is how I get along with the people who are still alive.”
Years before Pride and Prejudice and Zombies became an unexpected literary hit, Hollywood co-opted the marquee value of Jane Austin’s name. Director Jim Abrahams of Naked Gun and Top Secret fame, looked to the underworld for the inspiration of Jane Austin’s Mafia. A spoof movie that draws heavily on Martin Scorsese’s Casino (and not so much on Austin’s oeuvre) it marked Lloyd Bridges’ last appearance on the big screen, playing a Mafia godfather. A quick watch, the film runs for a scant 84 minutes, six of which are taken up with credits.