The Addams Family Review by Tim Nasson

October 6, 2019

The Addams Family debuted on television fifty-five years ago and ran for only two seasons. Nearly thirty years ago The Addams Family made their big screen debut. That live action film, directed by Barry Sonnenfeld (Men In Black), featured Angelica Huston and Raul Julia as Morticia and Gomez Addams. I was not a fan, at all, of either the TV show or movie. However, the film went on to earn $113 million during its theatrical run in 1991.

When one thinks of animated films, Disney and Pixar first come to mind, with Dreamworks and Universal coming in second, and Columbia Pictures, with their Hotel Transylvania franchise, coming in third.

The 2019 The Addams Family is an animated film released by United Artists. Interestingly, while this version of the crazy and kooky family is in cartoon form, it clearly is marketed towards an adult audiences. There is virtually nothing in the film that will captivate the minds of anyone under 14.

The film opens with Morticia (voiced by Oscar winner Charlize Theron) preparing to marry Gomez (Oscar Isaac). Part of her makeup routine involves dabbing her face with the ashes of her mother and father. How much more hideous can you get? Right before the couple can say “I do,” the townsfolk, in a scene reminiscent of the finale of Edward Scissorhands, descend upon the wedding party and chase the ‘monsters’ out of town. Upon escaping, via their vintage limousine, being driven by Thing, they run over someone who has the word ‘asylum’ etched on the back of their jacket. They look up and Gomez shrieks “That must be the asylum.” Morticia couldn’t be happier, exclaiming “Finally, a decent place to sleep for a night.”

There are countless one liners that are actually kind of funny sprinkled throughout the film, none that kids will understand.

Flash forward 13 years and the Gomez’s have a family of their own, Wednesday (voiced by Chloe Moretz) and Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard) and have turned the insane asylum into their home.

Just down the hill is a brand new development called,ironically, Assimilation, the brainchild of Margaux Needler (Oscar winner Allison Janney), a reality television star. She is intent on giving the asylum a makeover, or destroying it. Upon being given a tour of the house, she is shown the basement, and the ‘whine cellar.” Morticia opens one of the barrels and from inside escapes a number of shrieks. “We have some of the best whines,” she explains.

Addams Family 2019

“This is called surfing the web,” Morticia says to Margaux, as thousands of spiders form a bridge for them to cross.

Wednesday has braids that have been turned into nooses and sleeps in a bed with her head resting in a guillotine. She is about as goth as goth can get. Pugsley is constantly trying to bring harm to his sister, but always failing. A red balloon drifts into their yard and house and Morticia deadpans “There’s usually a murderous clown attached to the end of one of those.”

Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll) eats coffee grounds, instead of drinking coffee.

Thankfully, the film is less than 90 minutes and flies by. There is nothing surprising about the ending, which entails The Addams Family creating a literal family tree.

Bette Midler, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short also lend their voices to characters in the film. Snoop Dog more or less just lends his grunts, as It.

Aside from the one liners, the dialogue falls flat. The animation is far from Pixar quality. The direction of the film, from the duo Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon, who directed Sausage Party, is marginal at best. The film feels like something that you’d find on TV on a Saturday morning in the 1980s. (Maybe that’s what Tiernan was going for, as he has directed countless episodes of Thomas and Friends).

Will the film make money? It’s opening on over 4,000 screens, and there really is nothing else in theaters for kids, (even though they won’t enjoy this) so, yes, it will make money this weekend. Will it make enough to beat Joker at the box office? No.

The original The Addams Family movie spawned an awful sequel, The Addams Family Values. If there is a sequel to this animated version, I will be very surprised.

Grade C

The Addams Family Trailer