The Addams Family (1991)
Creepy, Kooky and Amusingly Spooky
Don't torture yourself, Gomez. That's my job - Morticia
To be frank whilst I was aware of the 60's TV show and recognized various characters "The Addams Family" pretty much passed me by, I was more a fan of "The Munsters". But when director Barry Sonnenfield gave us his movie version of "The Addams Family" back in 1991 I was happy to watch. It's darkly funny, full of the weird, whacky and plainly odd, packing in set piece after set piece of the strange and quirky. Indeed "The Addams Family" is a fun movie full of imagination, yet something for me is sort of lacking.
For 25 year Gomez Addams (Raul Julia) has longed to see his brother Fester again, something his scheming lawyer takes notice off as he devises a plan to con Gomez and his family out of their home and money by finding someone to impersonate Fester. But when Fester (Christopher Lloyd - Back to the Future Part III) miraculously returns Wednesday Addams (Christina Ricci - Mermaids) doubts whether he is her uncle or a fake, something which spreads through the family.
To be blunt the storyline to "The Addams Family" is slim with it revolving around the corrupt dealings of a lawyer and loan shark desperate to get their hands on the Addams family money, as well as the return to the Addams family bosom of long lost Uncle Fester. It sounds probably more than it really is because the movie works purely through the weird and whacky rather than the story. It's more a vehicle to not only introduce a new audience to the wonderfully weird world of the Addams family but also the continual stream of set piece gags. But then in many ways this works, it doesn't need some complex storyline which demands your attention it just needs something to link all the various gags together, which it does.
But whilst the slim storyline is acceptable, there is something about the humour which feels sort of wrong. There is no doubt that "The Addams Family" is full of jokes but at times it feels like it is trying to cram so many jokes in that it fails to develop any of them fully. The wonderful bodiless Thing and Cousin Itt are never really given the chance to deliver the humour from their moments, because it feels in such a rush to deliver the next gag. You get a sense that the writers came up with so many jokes, so many humorous scenes from the sword fighting through to the bloody Shakespeare recital that they just crammed them all in.
That doesn't mean that "The Addams Family" is unfunny, because the jokes combined with various visual treats of gothic surprise often raise a smile. But there are few moments which really draw laughter, with the school Shakespeare recital being one of the truly darkly funny moments which really delivers the laughs.
What is impressive though is the star cast and their recreation of these famous characters. The sadly departed Raul Julia is a delight full of Latino style exuberance as Gomez and Angelica Huston is brilliant as the vampish Morticia. Alongside them a young Christina Ricci is brilliantly morbid as young Wednesday as is Jimmy Workman as her brother Pugsley. But it is Christopher Lloyd as the damn right odd Uncle Fester which makes it such a wonderfully amusing movie. Through a series of batterings worthy of any Tom & Jerry cartoon strip Lloyd delivers that classic visual comedy down to a T.
What this all boils down to is that "The Addams Family" is an enjoyable movie, full of humour and imagination. The storyline may be slim but it's enough to tie all the jokes together but at times it feels like they are trying to cram too much in, causing many of the jokes never to reach their full potential. But despite this it is still enjoyable and with a wonderful cast it's a darkly funny movie for all the family.
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