The Addams Family Review

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Con artists have targeted the Addams Family and infiltrate the family with a fake "long lost" Uncle Fester, but do they underestimate thebrains behind the strange? Could that morbid child who talks like an adult initiate their undoing?


This is the holiday treat for people whose idea of a Christmas film is one that opens with merry carollers about to be splatted with a pot of boiling oil from the ramparts of Chez Addams. Summing up what passes for a plot in this lavishly mounted wheeze might not spoil the pivotal "twist" that anyone over the age of reason will rumble speedily. But it would surely be a waste of time, since the feeble effort to impose a storyline on Charles Addams' wittily macabre New Yorker cartoon creations merely gets in the way of the jokes.

Taken as a Big Film it may disappoint because, after all, it isn't 'about' anything. Taken as a string of ghoulish gags with some hilarious one-liners, delivered in a wonderfully spooky, kooky manor set, it's quite ridiculous but fun. Magnificent Anjelica Huston might have been born for Addams' Morticia. She's like a long drink of contaminated water as the chalk-faced, black-shrouded vamp dubbed, with absurd inappropriateness, "Tish" by her doting, wild-eyed Gomez (hammy Julia). Christopher Lloyd is also a hoot as the psycopathic Fester, but 11-year-old Christina Ricci (Cher's swimming sprog in Mermaids) gives them both a run for their money with some of the best lines and biggest laughs as weird little Wednesday. "We're going to play a game," she explains to repugnant sibling Pugsley as she straps him into an electric chair, "It's called Is There A God?". The hand they call Thing has more interesting things to do here than it did in the TV series thanks to matte magic, but apart from that it's not wildly superior or different in tone, just a lot more expensive and a bit more bizarre. The more perverse quips - "Don't torture yourself, Gomez. That's my job." - should escape younger members of the audience, for whom all of it but the knockabout gore gags may well seem bewildering. But there are enough deliciously sick moments to amuse the more, er, sophisticated.

Deliciously sick and delightfully cast.