Addams Family Values (1993)
“Creepier. Kookier. Spookier. Ookier.”
Addams Family Values (1993)
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Cast: Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd
Synopsis: A comical Gothic horror-movie-type family tries to rescue their beloved uncle from his gold-digging new love.
The Addams children – Wednesday (Christina Ricci) in particular – receive more screen time in this 1993 sequel to The Addams Family. But considering that the plot once again revolves around his squat, hulking Uncle Fester, the producers presumably believed that Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future, Things to Do In Denver When You’re Dead) was the one audiences were most likely to pay to see. It’s a shame that so much time is devoted to the deadly machinations of Fester’s new bride, the black widow serial-killer Debbie Jellinsky (Joan Cusack – Married to the Mob) because the exploits of the Addams kids at a dreadful summer camp are far more amusing. Angelica Huston (Seraphim Falls, 50/50) and the late Raul Julia (Stiletto) lurk mostly in the background as Morticia and Gomez; they are given a sub-plot regarding their new son, Pubert, (Kristen Hooper – don’t tell her mates) but it doesn’t really amount to much.
Fester now seems to have forgotten his old world from the previous movie, and has settled comfortably into the Addams family’s way of life – until, that is, he falls under the spell of femme fatale Jellinsky, whose spendthrift ways have seen her murder a succession of wealthy husbands for their fortunes. Jellinsky initially fits right in with the family after taking a job as nanny to the kids – and then arranging for them to be shipped off to a summer camp run by the sickeningly perky Becky Martin-Granger (Christine Baranski) and her husband, Gary (Peter MacNicol) so that she can go to work on the hapless Fester. However, once she succeeds in getting his ring on her finger, Jellinsky discovers that killing Fester is a lot tougher than she expected.
It’s surprising that Addams Family Values holds up so well when compared to its predecessor, given the tendency for sequels to be made on the cheap in order to cash in on the first movie’s success. That doesn’t mean Addams Family Values is anything out of the ordinary, because the first movie was never more than adequate, but it does seem to have settled comfortably into its world of ghouls and spooks in a way that The Addams Family never did, perhaps because it’s relieved of the burden of familiarising viewers with characters with whom they might only have been vaguely familiar.
The cast certainly seems to be enjoying themselves, with Ricci – noticeably grown since the first film – delivering the performance of the movie as the mournful Wednesday. Every line is delivered with perfect tone and timing, and the smile she forces onto her face when advised to try and fit in with the horribly squealy princesses at the summer camp is truly a sight to behold – many actresses twenty years her senior would struggle to pull off that moment with such finesse. The other actors settle effortlessly back into their characters: Lloyd shakes his head from side to side as he speaks, and Huston’s eyebrows rise and fall. It’s a shame things didn’t work out with Jellinsky – she would have fitted right in…
(Reviewed 10th May 2015)