Addams Family Values Movie Review
Review Date: 03/10/2019
Genre: Comedy, Horror, Family
UK Release Date: 10-06-1994
Studio: Paramount Pictures
This review is part of the 31 Films For Halloween Series
Addams Family Values was released 2 years after The Addams Family but is set around 9 months after the first film (if Morticia knitting a three-legged baby grow at the end of the first film is an indication of timings).
Baby Pubert joins the Addams clan and it’s no denying he’s the son of Gomez as the young boy has both Gomez hair and moustache. His arrival unsettles Wednesday and Pugsley who are worried that the new arrival will lead to one of them being replaced. Comedy ensues when they decide to “play” with the child and come up with a series of more gruesome games which somehow Pubert is able to escape.
Gomez is worried about the strain on Morticia having to look after 3 unruly children and so the hunt for a nanny begins and we’re introduced to Debbie Jellinsky (played by the always hilarious Joan Cusack), a perky young woman who couldn’t be more opposite to Morticia and the rest of the family. She quickly makes an impression and is taken on as the new nanny, but the question is does she have an ulterior motive?
It’s soon revealed that Debbie is actually “The Black Widow”, a serial killer who goes around marrying eligible, rich bachelors murdering them on their wedding night – and it looks like she’s got her eyes set on Uncle Fester.
While there is a storyline in that Debbie is trying to get her claws into Fester, the main jokes come as a series of one-off gags played mainly by the children and while it is nice to see Christina Ricci (Wednesday) have more material to get her teeth into the jokes can feel a little forced and disjointed. Debbie realises that she’s not going to be able progress with her plans with Wednesday and Pugsley around so she arranges for them to be sent off to a summer camp run with naieve joy de vivre by the Grangers (a fabulously camp Peter MacNicol and Christine Baranski).
Of course, the summer camp is everything that Wednesday and Pugsley detest in the world – it’s full of polite, peppy kids that enjoy playing in the outdoors and it’s a world away from what the young Addams are used to. The introduction of the Summer Camp is just shoe-horned in plot device. Despite the quality of the cast in these scenes I feel that a lot more could have been accomplished in the short time they were on screen.
And sticking with wasted opportunities, the humour just seems to fall flat in this film. Debbie has one meagre attempt at office Fester and then decides he can’t be killed and takes him away from his family instead. I would have loved to have seen some more murder attempts that were really off the wall but the writers decided to stick to lack-luster one liners that just don’t seem to have the spark or the originality of the first film.
It’s a real shame as the basic plot had a lot of promise, it just seems to get bogged down in comedy for the sake of comedy and is missing the dark self-referential humour that made the first film so different and much funnier that this one. Even over-the-top performances by Ricci, Cusack and Raul Julia can’t rescue this film from being just “okay” rather than good or great.
The only time that I laughed was when Wednesday had been tortured by Disney songs and attempted to smile – it was perhaps one of the creepiest things I’ve seen and was worthy of an Oscar nomination!
If you’re going to watch one Addams Family film this Halloween I’d actually recommend you watch The Addams Family as I think it’s a lot better that its sequel.
Watch this if you’re in the mood to see some murderous kids and a wonderfully over-the-top Joan Cusack.