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Family Business
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Reviews & Ratings for
Family Business More at IMDbPro »

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28 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

What's the problem?

Author: Boyo-2
12 November 2001

I can't believe the reviews for this!

If anything is open for critcism here, its the casting of Connery, Hoffman and Broderick as grandfather, father and son, but no one seems to mind that. Hoffman's wife is a Jewish woman, played by Rosana DeSoto, who was Richie Valen's mom in "La Bamba" and Edward James Olmos' wife in "Stand And Deliver". All the casting choices are questionable but I think someone along the way decided to be sarcastic about it, which of course makes the movie that much better.

Broderick is not a criminal but his elders are (or were) and he brings them all together to do a robbery. It makes perfect sense, since he's in that family and has their blood. Without even trying hard, he's a product of his environ, just like we all are. Matthew was a whiz-kid who got bored with that and doesn't seem to have any guilt about this caper. His girlfriend (Victoria Jackson) has extremely questionable morals and practically brags about that fact at dinner one afternoon. But is also in keeping with Broderick's character. He's like a wanna-be lowlife.

Hoffman is working in the meat-packing district in the West Village of Manhattan and is trying very hard to do the right thing after having served time and having had an on-again, off-again relationship with both his father and son. He demands honesty and even fires a guy (Luiz Guzman) who is caught stealing from him. The movie is also very realistic from his point-of-view since he gets involved mostly to keep an eye on the other two. Father and son do not get along and always seem to be arguing about one thing or another.

Connery is a life-long trouble maker who was never much of a father but loves his grandson very much and has some pride about their all working together. He argues with his son..father and son do not get along, again.

Some of the dialogue is very funny and there are always great character actors in Sidney Lumet's movies; this one is no exception. In very small parts are Marilyn Cooper, Deborah Rush and Marilyn Sokol. This is in addition to a great trio in the leads, all of whom register great work in this little-seen flick.

Movie has a real NYC feel to it. I'd recommend it to anyone.

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15 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Interesting Look at a "Crime Family"

Author: joedabear from Somewhere, FL
21 January 2001

A well done film about a family of theives. The grandfather (Connery) is a successful semi-retired theif whos son (Hoffman) is trying to stay on the straight & narrow in order to give his son (Broderick) a chance at a life free of crime. The trouble starts when the son goes to Granddad with a plan for a major job, Who is interested in it, and rather than discouraging his grandson takes it to his son for refinement and additional manpower.

It is a good film for many reasons, not the least of which is the by play between a good cast that are believable in their roles. It has a few interesting twists and demonstrates what honour among theives is really all about, "A family thing".

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Nasty, but brilliant

Author: fung0 from Canada
14 July 2010

When I see this film reviewed, over and over, as a comedy, I don't know whether to laugh or to cry. This is one of the most brutally cynical, agonizingly tragic films I've ever seen - the story of a family caught up in the romance of crime, trying to help at least the youngest generation escape its inevitable fate.

Perhaps it helps to know Sidney Lumet's other work, especially his previous bitterly brilliant collaborations with Sean Connery: The Hill, and The Offense. Family Business is a similarly scathing attack on preconceptions. Lumet takes what looks like a tame little 'heist comedy' scenario and shows just how poisonously evil it really is. He gives us the charming scoundrel (Connery), and shows how destructive his devil-may-care attitude can be.

One might as well criticize Othello or Macbeth for having no laughs. This film is, in fact, Shakespearian in its tragic dimensions. Connery starts out with the classic Tragic Flaw, and must pay for it in the end. (There is a heroic dimension in his ultimate realization, at least.)

I can easily understand that many people won't enjoy this film. It's a nasty, venomous, painful piece of work. But it's also quite brilliant. If you want easy answers, by all means, rent Ocean's Eleven. But if you're up for a challenge, don't overlook Family Business.

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12 out of 17 people found the following review useful:


Author: diorio2001
11 August 2002

This movie got a lot of bad reviews and is that well known. I don't know why. Each of the actors (whom I am all big fans of) put forward an amazing portrayal of their characters. The plot was not steady because it was a situational film in with the basis of the plot seems to change from each major occurrence in the film (noticed in many Woody Allen films). I thought that the movie had a lot to say about respect, morals, family values and trying to differentiate right from wrong under tense circumstances. This is definitely a must see if you are a fan of any of the three headliner stars in this film. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll enjoy it.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A surprising story, complete with a sadly, happy ending . . .

Author: Daniel Spires from Columbus, Ohio
17 September 1999

Good acting. I was quite surprised with the end result. Three blockbusters with an excellent supporting cast.

Seeing that this was Connery and Hoffman, billed together with Broderick, I was expecting a real thriller. Ouch! Sitting way out in the audience, even I had to think. This film is a brain-teaser from start to finish, and gently plucks at the emotions. When you rent it, or go to see it, pay attention.

A criminal family, torn between right and wrong? How could this be?

Cute, innocent Victoria Jackson, as Christine, plays Matthew Broderick's, Adam's, fiancée, and is revealed to be someone even lower than this three-generation family of thieves.

Fascinating, ironic, clever, well done . . .

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12 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

This movie taught me a lesson

Author: jax713 from United States - Pacific time zone
1 August 2005

I've got to learn to stop believing the studio-generated hype on movie jackets. To look at the summary, Family Business would appear to be a comedy...."laughs and larceny!" Whoever thought this movie is funny has a weird sense of humor. For me, it did not achieve even black comedy status. A couple of gaping holes in the plot almost made me eject it from the player. Were it not for the star power and consummate acting of Hoffman and Connery, I wouldn't have made it through to the end. And it may have been the first time for both of them to play characters we never really get to know. Broderick is wasted on a character that whines throughout the story. Glad I didn't pay full-tilt admission at a theater when this was first released.

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13 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Some Family...

Author: ( from St. Clair Shores, MI
29 December 2001

Connery, Hoffman, Broderick, oh my! OK, it should have been an Oscar contender, but it wasn't. Vince Patrick's work will never rival Tolstoy, but it isn't intended to. This is classic Connery chewing scenery with acid tongue dialogue and more than a few memorable moments. Hardly a talent waster, lets call it an under achiever, just like the main characters here.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Not a Family

Author: Davalon-Davalon from United States
6 September 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The first problem with this "movie" is the endless opening long shot that takes us over a NY street and buildings and traffic. We keep waiting for something to happen. While this shot is going on endlessly, we are forced to listen to a bizarre Cy Coleman score which sounds like it was salvaged from an off-Broadway show based on the "That Girl" TV series. It's ghastly. When the shot finally ends, it ends on the top of a building and it looks like it is focusing on either pigeon sh*t or cocaine -- it's hard to tell.

The second problem with the movie is the casting. We are asked to believe that Dustin Hoffman shows up with his wife at a Seder--and yet, he's not the Jewish one! Oh, come on. So, they named him Vito so he'd be Sicilian? And then his father is supposed to be Sean Connery? And Dusty's son is supposed to be Matthew Broderick? What a joke! Maybe that was the joke.

Matthew Broderick is a rude, obnoxious, ungrateful brat and there is one fabulous scene in where he keeps telling Dusty, after he's made his grand plan to rob someone, "There's nothing you can do about it." Dusty says, "There's nothing I can do?" And then he SLAPS him as hard as he can. It was gratifying, it really was.

But then, later on in the movie, Dusty is seen brutalizing some poor Hispanic man who's been caught stealing meat while on the job at Dusty's meat factory. You have to see it to believe it. Is that Dusty's "Mafia" blood coming out?

In the midst of this "film" there is this ENDLESS funeral scene with all these people we don't give two flying f's about because we don't know who they are.

We watched this film and kept staring at each other: What's it about? When does it start? Has it started? Why is Sean Connery Dustin Hoffman's father when it's obvious that there's no way in hell that he could be?

We nodded off half way through to the "delightful strains" of Mr. Coleman's "they should have used this score the first time I wrote it!" score -- which only made me think of a 60s TV show... oh, right, "That Girl." Except -- that isn't what this movie was supposed to be about - - unless it was.

Don't waste your time--unless that's what you like doing.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Has its problems, but a good film nonetheless

Author: Terrell Howell (KnightsofNi11) from United States
5 June 2011

For many, the family business is a meat market, or a hardware store, or maybe even a homely little jewelry store. For the McMullen's, the family business is armed robbery. Jessie McMullen (Sean Connery) is an aging yet unabashed criminal who has been in the business for many years. When his grandson, Adam (Matthew Broderick), finds the opportunity to net a cool million dollars, Jessie organizes one last heist with himself, Adam, and Adam's father, Jessies son, Vito (Dustin Hoffman). Vito is reluctant at first, but eventually comes around to pull of the heist. The movie tells the story of some rocky family ties and how the relationship between these three generations waxes and wanes in a very unconventional method.

The film is directed by the late and great Sydney Lumet. Lumet wasn't a consistent director and obviously put out some pretty terrible films, as well as some incredible films. Family Business falls right in between these two poles. It has its problems but it isn't a terrible film. Lumet directs the film very well with some great tracking shots of various New York locations we see in the film. The two funerals that take place in the film both include pans that lay out the characters very nicely in tightly constructed cinematography that isn't exactly flashy or incredible to look at, but adds a very subtle quality to the direction of the film. Lumet also directs his actors with a lot of precision and the performances from the three leads are excellent. All three characters are very different, not only in age but in personality and personal convictions. Each actor plays their character's nuances and attitudes very nicely, delivering dialogue that is at times cheesy and convoluted, yet also sharp when it isn't being silly.

The nice thing about this film is that there aren't any glaring issues. There are a multitude of small problems along the way, but nothing that kills the film's momentum or ruins the story. The issues range from bad chunks of dialogue, to moments that just don't fit well with the story, like Sean Connery singing. There are some pretty ugly plot holes that stick out when present, but thankfully they aren't anything that carry over throughout the film, causing more and more unrealistic problems. Overall the story doesn't exactly tie up as nicely as it could have. It leaves some loose ends and it resolves a few points a little too easily. I can't buy into everything that happened in this film, but I can believe enough to say that this is a decent film.

This is really just a film that sets out to entertain and tell an interesting story. It kept me interested from start to finish, and there were enough good things about this film to allow me to thoroughly enjoy it. The high points would be Lumet's direction and the great performances from the three leads. The low points would be the kinks in the story and some of the forced dialogue. Yet overall this is a fun little film that more or less accomplishes what little it sets out to do.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Great talents wasted

Author: SnoopyStyle
24 September 2013

Director Sidney Lumet creates this three generations of a crime family. Jessie (Sean Connery) is an old timer criminal. His son Vito (Dustin Hoffman) is trying to stay straight after a shady past with his father. His grandson Adam (Matthew Broderick) is the golden boy and the hope for a respectable future. So it's shocking when Adam approaches Jessie with a burglary plan.

While I see Dustin Hoffman as Matthew Broderick's father, Sean Connery just doesn't look related to them. It's simply distracting. And it makes little sense that they drag Vito into this knowing how much he hates the family business for his son. It seems easier to do this behind his back.

Once Vito got all the details of the caper, he could easily end this right there and then. Call up the company and tell them their ex-partner's plans. Then tell Jessie and Adam the jig is up. The company doubles and triples security. So it was really stupid for Jessie and Adam to get Vito involved.

Vito has to want to do the job, and not just to keep Adam safe. He could do that easily without doing the job. The simplest solution is to have Vito need the money.

The caper is really boring. The only interesting thing is Jessie's story when they were buying the supplies. The sad thing is that it showed it show the potential of these actors together. What we have here is great talents being wasted.

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