Same Old Values
When you think of movie sequels the rule of thumb is 9 out of 10 will be worse than the original and only very rarely will the sequel will be better. When it comes to "Addams Family Values" it's by no means better than the original "The Addams Family" but then it's not worse either, it's one of those which basically deliver more of the same. That could be a compliment if "The Addams Family" had been a brilliant movie but actually it was entertaining but average and that is what "Addams Family Values" is, entertaining but average.
The Addams family have a new arrival, baby Pubert, and it hasn't gone down to well with Wednesday (Christina Ricci - Casper) and Pugsley (Jimmy Workman) who try to murder their little sibling. In need of help, Gomez (Raul Julia) and Morticia (Anjelica Huston) decide to hire a nanny, enter Debbie Jellinsky (Joan Cusack - Working Girl) who not only seems perfect but also attracts the eye of Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd - Back to the Future). What the Addams's don't know is that Debbie is wanted for murdering everyman she has married and when she manages to convince Gomez and Morticia that Wednesday and Pugsley want to go to summer camp it seems that Uncle fester will be her next victim as she tries to murder him for his money.
One of the nice things about "Addams Family Values" is rather than just giving a rerun of the previous storyline it develops a couple of new storylines thanks to the birth of the latest Addams, Pubert. What we get is a serial man killer posing as a nanny so that she can marry Fester and get his money which leads to Pugsley and Wednesday being sent off to summer camp, their worst nightmare. It's a good idea to split the movie up as we get alternating stories as Debbie basically sinks her teeth into Fester, turning him into her slave whilst Pugsley and Wednesday have to put up with the banality of summer camp.
As such there is plenty of dark humour on show in "Addams Family Values" from Fester's diabolical attempts to court Debbie, her attempts to kill the indestructible Fester and Pugsley and Wednesday scaring the other kids at summer camp. Most of it is obvious, delivering jokes that can be seen a mile off but it works, it makes you smile and occasionally laugh. Although it has to be said that when director Barry Sonnenfield tries to deliver the creepiness of the Addams family it sort of falls flat, failing to be as imaginative as it was the first time around. But all in all "Addams Family Values" is as entertaining as before.
And just as entertaining as before are all the returning cast. Raul Julia and Angelica Huston are still as good as Gomez and Morticia whilst Christopher Lloyd is brilliantly crazy as Uncle Fester especially in his attempts to court Debbie. Then there are Christina Ricci and Jimmy Workman as Wednesday and Pugsley who come into their own this time around as to start with they try and kill their little brother and then find the smiley faces at Camp Chippewa are all too much to take.
But the real star of "Addams Family Values" is Joan Cusack as serial killer and nanny Debbie Jellinsky. Between her manic expressions, over the top sexiness and screaming deviousness she is the funniest thing in the movie. Cusack isn't alone as Peter MacNicol and Christine Baranski are a riot of camp ness as the Camp Chippewa leaders and a young David Krumholtz is amusing as allergy suffering Joel Glicker who falls for Wednesday.
What this all boils down to is that "Addams Family Values" is very much the equal of the original. It's amusing and has a nice couple of storylines but it's not a great movie and not that memorable either. Basically fun for a wet afternoon when there's nothing else to watch but not a movie I would go out of my way to see.