Review of 'The Addams Family'

the_addams_family.jpg An animated adaptation of “The Addams Family” TV series and, later, films tells the story of a spooky, though friendly, family of the undead. Gomez (Oscar Isaac) and Morticia Addams (Charlize Theron) move to a derelict asylum at the top of a hill in New Jersey to raise a family. Years later they have a daughter, the clinically cold and highly intelligent Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz), and a younger son, the violent Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard) living alongside Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll), “Frenkenstein's Monster”, manservant Lurch (Conrad Vernon) and “Thing” – a hand without a body with a personality all…it's…own. Wednesday is bored of her life being home schooled so decides to attend the local school while Pugsley is being coached in the “Mazurka” ceremony (involving sabres), one which all Addams boys must undertake on their way to adulthood. At the same time, TV host Margaux Needler is busy designing and building the planned community of Assimilation near the Addams' mansion. When Margaux is dismissed by the Addams' when she attempts to recruit them for her home improvement show, she is determined to get rid of the quirky family to further her evil plans for the town.

This has all the relevant details from the popular TV series and films but “The Addams Family” has little of it's heart. The characters are all one-dimensional pastiches of the originals on which they are based without the caring and loving interaction that make the originals so relatable. It is still a bit of fun with the on-going gag of Lurch playing variously improbable riffs on the keyboard (and occasionally breaking out into song) and Thing popping up everywhere adding it's own comedic touch. Quite surprisingly this animation is a bit on the violent side much more so than fans might expect and make the film slightly disturbing in places. Despite the presence of these fairly high-profile actors it seems the film is beyond saving.

Like it's characters, the animation is equally one dimensional and seems barely better than something you might find on a typical Saturday morning TV show though the voice actors do a great job evoking the originals. There are a few interesting cameos here with “Snoop Dog” voicing “Cousin It” (though the joke being that “It” only makes funny squeaking sounds instead of talking) and “Bette Middler” as the crotchety Grandma. Additionally, SCTV alumni Martin Short and Catherine O'Hara make a brief appearance as grandpa and grandma Frump.

The story is original but hardly rocket science (bad TV presenter, vs the good and innocent family) but not much more could be expected in a running time of less than an hour and a half.

An altogether disappointing, but watchable, animated adaptation which has some amusing bits but is otherwise unmemorable.

Rating: “A bit better than average”

Review Date: 2021-06-13

Directed by: Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

Year: 2019

Length: 86 minutes

Genre: Animation

Other reviewed films by Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath, and Conrad Vernon :