Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Family Business (1989)


Sean Connery; Dustin Hoffman; Matthew Broderick

Family Business stars Sean Connery, Dustin Hoffman and Matthew Broderick as three generations of a Jewish family—though, apparently, Mr. Connery comes from the Scottish side of the family—who plan a robbery together. This film is not like the usual crime drama, which, I must confess, is a disappointment, because I love crime dramas, and crime comedies are even better (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang; Ocean’s Eleven, though the sequel sucked big huevos). Family Business is more of a straight drama, with crime as a backdrop, which really takes up only about fifteen minutes of screen time, and that screen time isn’t particularly engaging. It’s just the three of them running around a lab in ski masks.

The crux of the plot centers around this: Vito (Hoffman) was raised by Jessie (Connery), who was, according to Vito, a bad father, teaching him how to steal, and leading him towards a life of crime like the old man. This upbringing eventually led to 27-months in the clink. Bummer. So, when it was Vito’s turn to raise a son, he gave Adam (Broderick) a strict and scholarly upbringing, providing support for him through a legitimate business enterprise, meatpacking. Adam resents this; his life is entirely mapped out for him. He loves his granddad more, because granddad shows him respect, treats him like his own man and listens to him. Well, because granddad listens to him, Adam comes to him with the idea to rob a lab, an idea suggested to him by a former scientist at the lab, Mr. Chiu. Granddad agrees immediately, and, after a great deal of prodding, convinces a reluctant Vito to go along as well, “to keep an eye on” his son. Of the three, only the son gets caught. And for the rest of the movie, the film devolves into even more of a family drama about coming a family coming to terms with one another. Boring. Where the hell are my explosions, damn it! I’m being too hard on the film. I probably would’ve enjoyed it more, if it hadn’t been packaged as a crime caper. But it was, and it failed to meet my expectations. So, drat.

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