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ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES

 

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, Oct. 25, 2019

EDITOR’S NOTE: With new Blu-ray upgrades for both the dark 1991 farce ‘The Addams Family’ and its two-years-later sequel, ‘Addams Family Values(including both titles in a Blu-ray two-pack), and in light of the new animated version that is in theaters now, my review of the 1991 film was in this space last week, and below is my review of the sequel, originally published in the Deseret News on Nov. 19, 1993.

Those who were unable to get into the demented humor of the first "Addams Family" film — or for that matter "Beetlejuice" or "The Nightmare Before Christmas" — might as well pass this one by as well.

But if you can laugh at campy perversity, there are enough snappy one-liners, hilarious sight gags and wonderfully twisted situations in this sequel to put you on the floor.

Most of the original cast is back — Anjelica Huston, still sensual and majestic as Morticia; wild-eyed, romantic Raul Julia as Gomez; Christopher Lloyd as rotund Uncle Fester; young Jimmy Workman as the hapless Pugsley; Carel Struycken as the moaning Lurch; magician Christopher Hart's hand as the agile Thing; Dana Ivey as Margaret, wife of Cousin Itt (John Franklin) … and an unrecognizable Carol Kane takes over as Granny.

     

Jimmy Workman, left, Christina Ricci, David Krumholtz, ‘Addams Family Values’ (1993)

Each has a few highlight moments but for me it was again 13-year-old Christina Ricci as the Addams daughter Wednesday who stole the show. Her hilarious deadpan demeanor is put to very good use as she delivers a variety of witty wisecracks, mostly comebacks to the comments of others. Especially funny is her reaction to the goody-goody kids — and counselors — who surround her at a summer camp.

The main story, however, has Morticia giving birth to a new little Addams, a boy they name Pubert, who comes complete with Gomez's mustache and slick hair (played by twin girls Kaitlyn and Kristin Hooper).

As a result, the family hires a nanny named Debbie, played with gleeful nastiness by the talented Joan Cusack. As it happens, she is really the notorious "Black Widow," who marries wealthy men, kills them and then disappears with the cash. And at the Addams home, she has her eye on Fester.

     

Joan Cusack, Christopher Lloyd, ‘Addams Family Values’ (1993)

But the plot actually matters very little. "Addams Family Values" — is that a great title, or what? — works because of an extremely witty screenplay by Paul Rudnick (who also contributed to "The Addams Family" and "Sister Act") combined with the hyperactive direction of former cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld, who has a wonderful way with visual humor. Not to mention the extremely well-conceived production values and the hilarious performances of the expert cast.

In some ways, "Addams Family Values" is little more than a string of jokes with an amazingly high success ratio. And that's the bottom line — you will laugh.

The film is rated PG-13 for comic violence, a couple of profanities and some sexual innuendo.