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  Addams Family Values The Immoral Minority
Year: 1993
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Stars: Raul Julia, Anjelica Huston, Christopher Lloyd, Joan Cusack, Christina Ricci, Carol Kane, Jimmy Workman, Carel Struycken, David Krumholtz, Christopher Hart, Dana Ivey, Peter MacNicol, Christine Baranski, Mercedes McNab, Nathan Lane, Peter Graves
Genre: Horror, ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Tonight Morticia (Anjelica Huston) has some news for her husband Gomez (Raul Julia): she's going to have a baby. Right now. So the Addams family race off to the hospital for their new addition to be born, and they are all keen to find out whether it's a boy or a girl; Gomez proudly announces to the waiting room that it's an Addams. However, not everyone is happy about the fresh arrival, as daughter Wednesday (Christina Ricci) warns her brother Pugsley (Jimmy Workman) that this means one of them will have to die to make room. Not true, but the kids have really taken against baby Pubert...

The law of diminishing returns, that is in movies the rule that says revisiting the same material will have more disappointing results, did not appear to apply to this, the sequel to 1991's hit comic horror adaptation of The Addams Family. If anything, much the same team as before caught their second wind and offered a comedy just as funny as their first try; obviously they owed a great debt to the sixties sitcom that had gone on to be a cult favourite in syndication, but here the gallows humour of the originator Charles Addams was mined for the overall tone, and given he was a genuine genius of the cartoonist's art they were wise to follow his lead.

The theme this time out, as if it could be anything else, was resisting the drive for normality which made so many people so miserable when if they were behaving just as quirkily as they felt their heart was telling them to they would be a lot happier. Plotwise, many accused this, as they had the predecessor, of simply being a succession of sketches, but there was more to it than only a joke delivery system, as since Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd) had rejoined the family first time around, here he was being torn away from their safe environment of weirdness and into the corruption of a supposedly ordinary life thanks to the introduction of a new nanny, Debbie (Joan Cusack).

Naturally, this is all quite unnatural, but Fester, who has not known the act of physical love (with someone else, as he helpfully points out), is smitten with Debbie not knowing this is exactly what she has in mind so she can get her hands on his fortune. She is in fact the so-called Black Widow who has three dead husbands behind her, and three spent inheritances, but this time she's not going to get it all her own way thanks to Wednesday twigging what she's up to. Or will she? Debbie manages to get the kids sent away to sickeningly wholesome summer camp, something which really does horrify them, not least because writer Paul Rudnick was employing the old British sitcom movie adaptation trick of taking the characters on holiday, although everyone else apart from the children stay at the mansion.

To make matters worse, once Fester is spirited away to a house in the suburbs by his new bride, he is, shall we say, whipped into breaking off all ties to the Addams, not knowing Debbie plans to kill him off in a staged "accident". This leads to perhaps the only misstep: while Morticia can appreciate this manipulative psychopath's schemes, Gomez feels the encroaching mundanity of traditional American values all too fiercely and heads towards a nervous breakdown, whereas he should have been a far more blithe presence in the movie. That said, it was amusing to see Pubert transform from a baby with his trademark hairstyle and moustache into a rosy cheeked bundle of fun with a head full of golden curls, so the Addams know there is something definitely wrong with him. The standard of oneliners was very high, with the cast delivering the funnies with aplomb: Ricci was often singled out for her deadpan timing, but really they all stepped up to the mark to generate hilarity. One for the goodnatured misfits everywhere. Music by Marc Shaiman, with liberal use of Vic Mizzy's theme.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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