Geek Review: The Addams Family

You know, the Addams Family should be an obvious kid friendly property.  They may be a macabre family, but they are also ultimately harmless.  Gomez and Morticia love each other and their children, and they don’t really mean anyone else any harm.  Plus, kids probably dig that sort of humor.

That must be the thinking behind whoever decided we needed an animated movie featuring them.

The movie opens with Gomez (Oscar Isaac) and Morticia’s (Charlize Theron) wedding day, or more accurately night.  We watch as Morticia gets herself ready in what are probably the best gags in the movie.  From there, torch-welding villagers show up to drive the entire extended family off.  Gomez, Morticia, and Thing get away, move to New Jersey, find Lurch, and have a couple kids.   Thirteen years later and it’s time for son Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard) to undergo the standard Adams Family rite of male adulthood.  It involves swords.

Meanwhile, daughter Wednesday (Chloe Grace Moretz) wants to actually leave the haunted asylum the family calls home.  There’s a bright town nearby named, symbolically!, Assimilation.  There, reality host and home decorator Margaux Needler (Allison Janney) seeks total conformity.  For someone like Margaux, having a family like the Addamses overlooking her town is bad enough.  But factor in all the extended relatives coming in from out of town for Pugsley’s ceremony, and that’s too much.  There will be war.

So, what to make of this movie?  Well, it is well cast.  Beyond the people mentioned above, there’s still Nick Kroll’s Uncle Fester, Bette Midler’s Grandmama, and (sort of) Snoop Dogg’s Cousin Itt as the main family.  Add in Elsie Fisher as Margaux’s unhappy daughter (and friend to Wednesday) Parker, and you have a group that could probably play this in live action.  Moretx and Wolfhard are too old for such a project, but that’s neither here nor there.

However, this is still an animated movie, and it still has to entertain.  Does it?  Well, I would say not really.  I didn’t hate it, but the jokes were rather flat.  There were some good visual gags, but the script relied too much on bad puns than anything else.  You’d think characters like the Addams might write themselves up to a point.  Just have the characters behave in a manner that is the opposite of conventional norms.  If anything, the movie seems to be saying we all need to accept people for whom they are.  That goes not only for the crazed Margaux as it does, oddly enough, for Morticia and Gomez.  The two Addams patriarchs need to accept their kids are going to do their own thing as well.

So, some nice animation, a few good sight gags, and, well, it wasn’t really bad so much as dull.  7 out of 10 helpful trees.

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