The Addams Family (1991) Review: Family-Friendly Horror
“Weird is relative.”
Synopsis: Con artists plan to fleece an eccentric family using an accomplice who claims to be their long-lost uncle.
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Unlike some of the other family-friendly movies reviewed on this site, there’s unlikely to be much even younger viewers find scary about The Addams Family. The tone is more or less than of a kid’s Halloween party – recognizably spooky elements with a lot of slapstick and jokes. While older audiences probably won’t find much to laugh at without the nostalgia factor, The Addams Family is at least an inoffensive movie night option to share with kids.
The Addams Family here is as zany as the ’60s TV show with parents Gomez (Raul Julia) and Morticia (Anjelica Huston) passionately in love and indulging little Wednesday (Christina Ricci) and Pugsley (Jimmy Workman) in their antics. They are joined by Judith Malina as Mama, Carel Struycken as Lurch, and the ’60s TV show, I might have enjoyed the movie better. As it was, I had the same feeling that I get when watching the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie: “this is similar to, but not really the same, as something I love.” Aside from preferring the ’60s actors, I felt that the filmmakers missed some key aspects of the Addams that made the TV show so special. Instead of having the Addams lifestyle be a sly upending of cultural norms, these Addams felt more like a high school goth – trying too hard to be strange. They were also often unkind and impolite in ways that I felt were out of keeping with the characters I know and love, and that ruined some of my enjoyment.
But none of those considerations will matter much to a younger or nostalgic audience. New adult viewers will have a limit to what they can get out of this physical comedy-heavy family film, but it’s by no means a terrible way to spend the evening.
Calamity Brains’ Rating: C+
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