ADDAMS FAMILY (2019) will make you run to your film collection and want to watch Barry Sonnenfeld’s fun yet flawed live action 90s films in order to get the boring and bland taste of this animated remake/reboot out of your mouth. I’m calling it a remake because it has absolutely no connection or continuation with the 90s films, but at the same time I want to call it a reboot because it takes some very similar plot threads from both the original and Values and tries to mix them together to try and to garner up some sort of new cohesive story. Needless to say it doesn’t work. The beginning is promising, it’s gets the “creepy and they’re cooky” vibe right, with a before the opening credits origin story that actually works very well, but then after the introduction to Wednesday, Pugsly and Fester it goes into a plot dealing with “normal folk” that almost made me fall asleep, as I didn’t care about it. All of it turns into a movie that I’m not sure who the target audience is, as I don’t think kids would get any fun out of it, and will have adults wishing that somehow Raul Julia was still alive to do a final film in what would’ve been a decent Sonnenfeld trilogy.
To describe the half hazard story the best I can, it mainly focuses on Pugsly having to performance this family ritual to become a man, aka a Barmitzva, but a little more dangerous and weirder in nature, Wednesday going to a normal school and befriending a normal girl which has her questioning her real life, while the rest of the family deals with a pretentious TV host and her quest to build a perfect planned community, with the Addams refusing to change their cooky ways. Basically it takes some of the weird small things Pugsly did in the live action films and scrambles it up to have it fall in line with this Addams rite of passage boring story line, it takes Wednesday’s little subplot with the summer camp from Values and just switches it to a school narrative, and then it takes the two crazy female antagonists from both live action films to create this new antagonist that is voiced by none other than Alison Janney. It’s all just very bland, where I was wishing that it would’ve completely ditched the entire story and just had the family do different weird, fun yet demented things to each other taking place solely in and right outside the house for 87 minutes. That’s basically what the first 10-15 minutes were and I quite enjoyed it.
There is nothing wrong with the rest of the film. The animation is quite good, the voice casting is excellent, and the comedy works when it is just within the family. When it tries to stir up some kind of narrative with us “normal” folk, and the fact that it doesn’t get as dark as the live action movies and source material is the main problem. Oscar Isaac makes an excellent Gomez, Charlize Theron is fantastic as Morticia, Chloe Grace Moretz is great as Wednesday, Nick Kroll kills it as a new unique Uncle Fester, and Finn Wolfhard made a fine Pugsly. Even Alison Janney did a good job voicing the antagonist. And the animation is very eye catching with a lot of fantastic site gags you expect to see that involve the family. I understand trying to bring in a younger audience, but unless you have a unique narrative that is interesting enough to catch the ears of a child, you aren’t going to get anywhere with a bland story line such as this. Your child will get ADD with this film if they don’t already have it. I saw it with a theater full of children and when I looked around most of them had their heads on their parents shoulders, their eyes quickly drooping and some of them already shut.
Like I said with my review of Jexi, this isn’t going to be a long analysis because, thankfully, the film itself wasn’t that long, probably coming to an hour and 20 minutes without credits. But let me ask you a question: does it really matter if halfway into it you already feel that it has overstayed its welcome, have almost fallen asleep, and wonder if it’d been better as a couple of shorts on the extras of better animated movies from the same studio? The movie isn’t a total disaster, as I’m sure some families might get something out of it, but I guarantee you that any fans at all of the original source material, the old television show, and the live action movies of the 90s will probably wish that they were rolling around in early graves than having to sit through all the mediocrity. Sitting in my theater seat waiting for the movie to end, I was constantly just singing the catchy Addams Family theme song in my head almost the entire run time. During one of the run-throughs I was wishing that after the two snaps of the fingers that I would suddenly disappear in the theater and reappear in my bed at home. Ah the thought of that. Neat. Sweet. Petite.