Disproving every stereotype about the national miserableness of the French, this is a fine, binge-worthy series that makes the most of its deserved continuation.
This review of Family Business season 2 is spoiler-free. You can check out our thoughts on the previous season by clicking these words.
The first season of Netflix’s Family Business was a low-key hit, a skillful blend of family drama and slapstick comedy in which a struggling, traditionally religious French family turned to drug dealing in order to keep their butchery business alive. It was very funny and, at just six 30-minute episodes, ideally suited to a binge-watch. Every episode ended on a cliffhanger, and the story felt ripe for a continuation.
As of today, we have that continuation, and the good news is that Family Business season 2 is just as good, if not better, than the original outing. It similarly has only six episodes, but they’re a little meatier, and benefit from not having to waste time establishing the characters and setup. We rejoin the Hazans a year on, and business is booming. But Joseph (Jonathan Cohen) wants out, in large part because Aida (Lina El Arabi) is refusing to allow him access to their triplets and the threat of Jaures (Tamar Baruch) continues to loom large. The problem is that nobody else wants to quit. Olivier (Olivier Rosemberg) and Clem (Louise Coldefy) are loving the high-rolling drug-dealing lifestyle, and the rest of the family are enjoying their newfound success.
In typical Jo fashion, he takes it upon himself — on the advice of Youssef (Oussama Kheddam), who now makes and sells cakes styled after military hardware — to quit on behalf of the whole family, which only causes more problems. That’s the initial setup for Family Business season 2, but it quickly becomes a cascade of calamity as expected. What elevates it, though, are the personal predicaments of each individual family member, who’re all in slightly different places now. Gerard (Gérard Darmon) is in rehab, despite not having actually stopped smoking weed, and inadvertently becomes the sponsor of Catherine, a woman addicted to tranquilizers who becomes his love interest. Aure (Julia Piaton) is in a relationship with local cop Elodie (Ariane Mourier) despite having pretended to dump her, and she’s forced to blame her father’s homophobia for why she’s keeping their relationship a secret. Ludmila’s (Liliane Rovère) age is catching up with her, and as the scale of the Hazans’ operation increases, so does the difficulty of laundering money and finding space to grow the product.
With all these new problems, personal and logistic, Family Business season 2 has a lot on its plate, but it balances it efficiently with consistent comedy but also touches of affecting drama. Every family member — except perhaps Clem, who remains in large part a caricature — is likable, has understandable motivations and relatable problems, be they personal or romantic or whatever. The dynamics remain really strong and the comedy remains really funny, not just on a situational level but in the writing itself, which is packed with gags. Disproving every stereotype about the national miserableness of the French, this is a fine, binge-worthy series that makes the most of its deserved continuation.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.