Addams Family Values Review

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With the arrival of a baby brother, the jealous Addams' children, Pugsley and Wednesday try to kill him, so are swiftly packed off to a children's' holiday camp. Meanwhile their Uncle Fester finds himself being chased after by a woman desperate to marry him for his money.


Oh, the ooky and the spooky and rather kooky movie version Addams family are back in an equally silly but funnier sequel, which has something more resembling a plot than its predecessor. Huston and Julia gleefully continue their suggestive sado-comedic teaming as tangoing twosome Morticia and Gomez, but the more satisfactory elements come from taking the focus away from them and the family pile.

This time around the gruesome goings-on chez Addams are augmented by the arrival of baby Pubert, played by a hapless pair of twins, wigged and moustachioed to look just like Gomez. A running gag involving attempts on the baby's life by put-out pubescents Wednesday (Ricci) and Pugsley (Jimmy Workman) prompts the engagement of a string of nannies, hurriedly culminating in Joan Cusack's Debbie, a serial-killer intent on snaring eligible Uncle Fester (Lloyd) after reading up on him in Lifestyles Of The Rich And Freakish. What Debbie does to and with Fester and how Wednesday and Pugsley get on at the squeaky clean, all-American summer camp to which they are dispatched to give the baby a chance of survival, make for the giggles in another extravagantly camp, highly stylised bit of nonsense.

Ricci and Workman are now too big to be cutely macabre, but the former is still the drollest character around, her determined deadpan delivery of perverse patter providing absurd hilarity in the Camp Chippewa scenario. Birth, marriage and an unfortunately timed Michael Jackson gag provide a reasonable mix of the satirical matter, and if ex-cinematographer Sonnenfeld is still more adept with production design and camera angles than narrative, he has the wit to give Huston room for her memorable moments. Classic it's not, but as an alternative to the gooier kids jollities, it's a scream.

It is a rare feat to make a sequel better than its predecessor but here Sonnenfeld manages to do just that. With such a strong adult cast, it comes as a surprise when the children steal the show. With such dry and morbid humour, it feels that at times he was filming more for the parental viewers than the childrens.