Dan's Review: "The Addams Family" is relatively fun
Oct 10, 2019 06:54PM
● By Dan Metcalf
Charlize Theron and Oscar Isaac in The Addams Family - © 2019 MGM.
The Addams Family (MGM)
Rated PG for macabre and suggestive humor, and some action.
Starring (voices of) Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll, Snoop Dogg, Bette Midler, Allison Janney, Conrad Vernon, Elsie Fisher, Martin Short, Catherine O'Hara, Aimee Garcia, Pom Klementieff, Tituss Burgess, Jenifer Lewis.
Written by Matt Lieberman and Pamela Pettler.
Directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan.
There’s one in every family…you know, that weird uncle or aunt (maybe you ARE that weird uncle or aunt) who is more than a little quirky but mostly harmless. For some, it’s the entire family, which is the premise for The Addams Family, a new feature-length animated film based on the popular 1960s TV series (which also got two live-action film adaptations from Barry Sonnenfeld in the 1990s).
It’s the story of Gomez and Morticia Addams (Oscar Isaac and Charlize Theron), a ghoulish couple who just want to live their lives in peace. Escaping to the hills of New Jersey, they discover an abandoned and haunted former asylum for the criminally insane. Along the way, they adopt Lurch (Conrad Vernon), a Frankenstein-like giant who they treat as their butler before settling into the mansion and bearing two kids, Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) and Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard). “Thing” (a dismembered hand) and Gomez’s brother Fester (Nick Kroll) also lives with them. All goes well until local TV designer/home makeover specialist and busybody Margaux Needler (Allison Janney) drains the local swamp that provides a permanent fog to cover the Addams mansion, revealing their macabre domicile to the townspeople of “Assimilation” where Margaux plans to sell off her development during a nationally-televised home makeover event. The presence of a creepy family threatens Margaux’s plans for the perfect town, but things escalate as all of the Addams Family’s relatives, including Cousin It (Snoop Dogg) and Grandmama (Bette Midler), descend on the community to celebrate Pugsley’s ritualistic entrance into manhood. Further complicating matters is Margaux’s daughter Parker (Elsie Fisher) who makes a new friend in Wednesday. A grand confrontation between Margaux and the Addams Family follows, leading the townspeople to a revelation about their privacy and a few lessons about tolerance.
The Addams Family is full of all the fun, dark comedy you’d expect from the famous “creepy, spooky” clan, much like the film 1990s Sonnenfeld film adaptations. Beyond that, there isn’t much substance to the movie, resulting in a series of ghoulish gags, double entendres, and silly puns that don’t always register as funny (think: “dad” jokes with a dash of graveyard humor). The climactic confrontation between the differing folks has a resolution more like a campfire gathering in which everyone holds hands and sings “Kumbaya.”
The whitewashing of conflict is only part of the problem for The Addams Family, since the moral messaging lacking any sort of nuance or context. The movie’s ham-fisted lesson falls into the simple “be excellent to each other” category, thus eliminating any chance for the audience to figure it out for themselves.
The Addams Family voice performances seems to work for most part, with all the main characters getting fair representation, but the standout performance belongs to Nick Kroll as Fester, delivering most of the best lines. The animation and visual characterization are also a lot of fun, adapting the zany spirit of the original cast – especially Lurch, whose deadpan delivery and off-brand musical performance keeps the giggles coming.
The Addams Family isn’t the best animated comedy you’ll see this year but much like that quirky relative – it’s interesting enough for a few laughs.
"The Addams Family" Trailer