Thinking of heading to the theater this weekend to catch a new release? Well, as the major studios prepare their premium Oscar-bait for the November and December release dates, there isn't a whole lot to choose from. Still, Luc Besson's new comedy The Family - starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer and executive produced by Martin Scorsese - should satisfy family crowds not keen on seeing another Insidious movie.

Robert De NiroRobert De Niro Means Business In 'The Family'

The off-beat movie follows a mafia boss and his family who relocate to a sleepy town in France under the witness protection program after snitching on the mob. Despite the best efforts of Tommy Lee Jones's Agent Stansfield, the family can't help but revert to its old ways and eventually get tracked down by a couple of former mafia cronies. Of course, chaos ensues in the most unlikely of settings.

It's a cool idea for a movie and Relatively Media seem to be on the right track with this one. De Niro is obviously guilty of starring in some comedy duds in recent years (see: The Big Wedding and New Year's Eve) though his comic ability is impressive and with the right script (see: Meet the Parents, Wag the Dog, Analyze This) very good things can happen.

The critics aren't over-awed by The Family, though it's certainly shaping up to be one of the more interesting comedy offerings of the year.

"It doesn't even try for basic credibility. But buoyed by hot performances, it sustains a zapping electrical energy," said Stephen Holden of the New York Times.

Robert De Niro The FamilyMichelle Pfeiffer
Robert De Niro [L] and Michelle Pfeiffer [R] In 'The Family

"The thing that saves the movie time and again is Besson's uncanny ability to shift tone, sometimes even within a single sequence, from light comedy to serious action, to genuine emotion and even romance," said Mark Olsen of the Los Angeles Times.

"Even the silliest contrivance can be forgiven when De Niro and Jones face off, their craggy, deadpan mugs telling tales all their own," wrote Greg Evans of Bloomberg.

"De Niro is a hoot to watch, and the action scenes are a ton of fun. Unfortunately, the movie just couldn't find the right tone to be wholly successful," cautiously opined Austin Kennedy of Film Geek Central.

All in all, the reviews make for a rather underwhelming 35% on Rotten Tomatoes, though it's by no means a disaster for a family comedy.

Michelle Pfeiffer The FamilyMichelle Pfeiffer Plays A Mob Wife In 'The Family'

If you're getting worried that De Niro is making too many comedies for comfort, don't despair. He stars in David O'Russell's forthcoming Oscar contender American Hustle and is about to start shooting the crime-thriller Motel with John Cusack. The latter sees a criminal biding his time at a seedy motel to wait for his boss after killing several men and taking off with a mystery bag.

Watch The Family trailer here: