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The Addams Family 2
Directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan
Written by Dan Hernandez and Beji Samit
Featuring the voices of Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron and Chloe Grace Moretz
Classification PG; 93 minutes
Available in theatres and digitally on-demand starting Oct. 1
The kids were pretty keen on watching The Addams Family 2. “It’s spooky, Mom – perfect for getting in the Halloween spirit,” they said. After missing trick-or-treating around the neighbourhood last year, they are quite keen on amassing a stash of sweets this year. Although I’d completely missed watching the first animated film featuring this quirky clan in 2019, I clearly remember watching reruns of the 1960s TV series. Its black-and-white aesthetic was cool, the Addams family was delightfully bizarre compared to other TV families and I had a bit of a girl crush on Morticia and her death stare.
The Addams Family 2 allowed me a couple of nostalgic chuckles, while the kids were entertained by the antics. It wasn’t entirely a snooze, but I can’t say it was particularly memorable for either of us.
This latest version has the family going west on a road trip, starting out in Salem and heading over to Death Valley, near Las Vegas. It’s supposed to be a trip for all of them to bond. You see, Wednesday (Chloe Grace Moretz) is unamused with the lot of them, and tries to change some characteristics of her Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll) as part of a science-fair project. Her experiment catches the eye of Cyrus Strange (Bill Hader), some sort of wealthy scientist, who wants to know more about her formula. “It’s a family secret,” she says – except Wednesday might just have been switched at birth.
As the rest of the Addams family tries to connect with each other at each pit stop with pranks that are more juvenile than macabre, Wednesday grows more distant and seeks out Cyrus Strange. Of course, it turns out that he’s actually an evil genius – which allows for a melee of strange lab fluids and odd mutations, which did have the kids grinning. There are some attempts to inject humour for adults along the way, but those jokes were so banal as to be quickly forgotten.
However, the film has inspired us in another way – the kids have been humming the catchy theme song and snapping their fingers, while I’m checking out YouTube videos of the vintage TV series. Who knows? If trick-or-treating is allowed this year, maybe we’ll even dress up as the kooky-spooky Addams.
In the interest of consistency across all critics’ reviews, The Globe has eliminated its star-rating system in film and theatre to align with coverage of music, books, visual arts and dance. Instead, works of excellence will be noted with a Critic’s Pick designation across all coverage.