The Addams Family Values

Another delightful sequel that improves upon the original in a lot of ways while still falling prey to the classic sequel pitfall of separating your characters.

What worked about the first film is here again. Raul Julia giving 1000% to the role of Gomez Addams. Anjelica Huston’s sublime turn as the ethereal Morticia. Christopher Lloyd going whole hog with his wacky interpretation of Fester. The production design is again stupendous, and the pacing of the film really flies.

My biggest problem with the film is a common sequel problem. They split up their core characters. The Addams family themselves was the biggest success of the first film. The way these goofy people interacted and played off each other was sublime. In this film everyone goes off to do their own separate storyline. It’s a common thing in sequels. I don’t know if it’s a misunderstand of what made the original successful or if its some misguided idea that to challenge their characters they need to separate them, but whatever the cause the result is poor. That group dynamic we came to love in the original is fragmented and lost in the sequel.

Here is the plot of the film so that you might get a fuller picture of what I’m complaining about. Gomez and Morticia have a baby in hilarious fashion. Wednesday and Pugsley are jealous of the new baby and begin trying to murder him. Fester falls in love with the new nanny. Wednesday and Pugsley are sent away to summer camp. Gomez and Morticia quietly raise the baby by themselves off screen for a big chunk of the runtime. Fester and the Nanny get married. She is of course a gold digging murderer who only wants him for his money. She separates Fester from the family with the lure of sex. We don’t get enough of everyone interacting. They are all off on their separate adventures, dealing with their own plots.

Now that’s not to say that these individual storylines aren’t entertaining. They are. I love the summer camp sections of the film. Wednesday Addams in her dark and deadpan manner pointing out the falsehood of the camps excessive cheeriness is delightful. Watching Fester put on white suits and page boy wigs to please his new bride is hilarious. Gomez and Morticia keeping the spark of their romance alive with a new baby is fun. These are all great ideas. I just wish there was more room for overlap.

There’s a lot to love here, and I did thoroughly enjoy myself with this film as well as the original. Do I have problems and quibbles with this movie? Yes. Does it ruin the movie for me? Not entirely. It’s still my cup of tea. A-

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