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From left: Oscar Isaac as the voice of Gomez Addams, Chloë Grace Moretz as the voice of Wednesday Addams, Nick Kroll as the voice of Uncle Fester, Charlize Theron as the voice of Morticia Addams, Finn Wolfhard as the voice of Pugsley Addams, Conrad Vernon as the voice of Lurch, and Bette Midler as the voice of Grandma.

Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures/Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures

  • The Addams Family
  • Directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan
  • Written by Pamela Pettler and Matt Lieberman (based on characters created by Charles Addams)
  • Starring: Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloe Grace Moretz, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll and Bette Midler
  • Classification: PG; 87 minutes

rating

The 1960s, of course, began in 1964. Was it the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show? Please – they wanted to hold your hand. No, the counterculture started with prime-time premieres of duelling macabre, wry inversions of the ideal mid-century American family, The Addams Family and The Munsters. The latter was more benign than the former, The Munsters being an Everybody Loves Raymond plus a clumsy Frankenstein monster.

The Addams Family television series was based on the characters created by New Yorker cartoonist Charles Addams, as is a new animated feature film of the same name. It’s geared toward young audiences, favouring a wholesome be-yourself message and visual stimulation over an actual "story.”

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New films this week, from Eddie Murphy’s energetic comeback Dolemite Is My Name to Ang Lee’s story-lacking spectacle Gemini Man

Basically, the family (led by husband-and-wife weirdos Gomez and Morticia who, get this, love one another and don’t spend their time nagging each other) is hounded away from the “old country” by a pitchfork mob. They find a new home in a former "asylum” that overlooks a picture-perfect suburban town called “Assimilation.” So, razor-sharp allegory.

The film’s writing is unambitious; there’s little to cause adults to smile knowingly. I suppose it’s enough to grasp the satire involved with the presentation of family members who do not appear to adhere to societal norms, yet actually enjoy each other’s company, treat each other with respect and are even happy when their oddball cousin comes over. How creepy, how kooky, how all together ooky.

The Addams Family opens Oct. 11.

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