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Home Blog Popcorn Parent Movie Reviews Family Movie Review: The Addams Family (PG)

Family Movie Review: The Addams Family (PG)

‘The Addams Family’ is often amusing, doesn’t stray very far from its origins, and might not be worth theater prices.

Kernel Rating: 3 out of 5

MPAA Rating: PG Length: 87 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 8+. ‘The Addams Family’ will feel very familiar for anyone already familiar with this franchise: The family members are creepy and spooky, and their antics are sometimes violent or dangerous, including riding missiles, using explosives, throwing axes, and engaging in swordplay (although few people get hurt). Some supernatural elements, like ghosts and gigantic spiders; the villain character spies on other people, lies, and manipulates social media to bully others; there are other scenes of bullying, including a female bully at a middle school. There are some homages to other horror movies, including a scene where about-to-be-dissected frogs are brought back to life; some romantically or lightly sexually fueled jokes; and some bathroom humor.

By Roxana Hadadi

To its credit, “The Addams Family” animated film knows what has appealed to viewers of the creepy and kooky clan for all these years, from the comics to the various television series to the ‘90s live-action films: that the weirdness of the family and the love they have for each other have to be in balance.

“The Addams Family” doesn’t offer much that is specifically unique to this version of the story, or to the current animated family film landscape overall, but the concept is familiar and the execution honors the characters. That combination works, and the 87-minute run time doesn’t overstay its welcome. But the animated style isn’t detailed or immersive enough to feel fully worth the ticket price, even for families who are missing the “Hotel Transylvania” franchise and would select “The Addams Family” as a Halloween movie choice.

TheAddamsFamily1ChesapeakeFamilyMovieReviewjpg“The Addams Family” begins with a scene that centers how much the family cares for each other, and how often they are run out of town by “normal” people: At their wedding ceremony, Morticia (voiced by Charlize Theron) and Gomez (voiced by Oscar Isaac) have to run for their lives when villagers attack them with fiery torches and other weapons. Desperate to find somewhere to start their own family, Morticia and Gomez leave the unnamed “old country” for New Jersey, where they come upon a haunted, abandoned asylum on the top of a hill that they decide to call home.

Thirteen years later, Morticia and Gomez now have two children: Elder daughter Wednesday (voiced by Chloë Grace Moretz), who is beginning to rebel against her parents and their strict, weird-stuff-only way of life, and younger son Pugsley (voiced by Finn Wolfhard), whose mischief is in contrast to Wednesday’s moroseness. While Wednesday wonders what lies outside their gate and begins to push Morticia’s boundaries, Gomez is increasingly concerned that Pugsley might not successfully perform an ancestral swordplay sequence that signifies his transition into manhood.

And no one in the family is quite ready for the arrival of Margaux Needler (voiced by Allison Janney), who with her outsized blond hairdo and aggressive personality is determined to drive the Addams family out from their home. Their cliff overlooks a real estate development that Margaux, a personality on a home-improvement cable network, has spearheaded, and she fears that the Addams family’s presence will discourage homebuyers. And so as Morticia tries to understand Wednesday and as Gomez tries to prepare Pugsley, Margaux is scheming to turn the entire town against them.

“The Addams Family” maintains the same characteristics for the family members as anyone who has seen any version of this story already knows: Gomez is over the top in his love for his wife and hopeful that people will accept them; Morticia is a little more guarded, but precise in her defense of her family; Wednesday is hilariously macabre; and Pugsley is bombastic and destructive. All of that is reflected here, and Isaac and Moretz in particular do a good job capturing the respective zany and chilling qualities of Gomez and Wednesday. What is disappointing, though, is that the animated style just can’t quite match their performances. There are no real details to these images, none of the same complexity as a film like the recent “Abominable”; most everything is flat and lacking in visual variety. Some of the humor is dependent on visual details, like a swarm of spiders flooding out from underneath Morticia’s dress, and while you’ll laugh, you won’t be blown away by the animation.

Perhaps that’s why “The Addams Family” doesn’t exactly feel like it’s worth the theater-going experience. The themes about bullying and belonging aren’t new to this genre, and the character dynamics are the same as the series, and the animation isn’t particularly engaging. For diehard fans, “The Addams Family” is amusing enough, but maybe worth more of a matinee.

Interested in a previously released film? Read our reviews of films already showing in your local theater.  

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