- Directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan
- October 11, 2019 (US)
- Based on the characters created by Charles Addams
- Gomez Addams-Oscar Isaac
- Morticia Addams-Charlize Theron
- Wednesday Addams-Chloë Grace Moretz
- Pugsley Addams-Finn Wolfhard
- Uncle Fester-Nick Kroll
- Itt-Snoop Dogg
- Grandmama-Bette Midler
- Margaux Needler-Allison Janney
- Grandpa Frump-Martin Short
- Grandma Frump-Catherine O’Hara
- Glenn (Margaux’s agent)-Tituss Burgess
- Great Auntie Sloom-Jenifer Lewis
- Parker Needler-Elsie Fisher
- Lurch, Dr. Flambé-Conrad Vernon
- Denise (a camera operator who works for Margaux)-Aimee Garcia
- Mitch (a member of Margaux’s film crew)-Scott Underwood
- Bethany-Chelsea Frei
- Layla and Kayla (twin girls)-Pom Klementieff
The friendship of Wednesday with the daughter of a reality TV host causes problems for the Addams clan.
Ever watch a movie and feel like it’s just going through the motions? That what you are watching doesn’t have a spirit of its own or can’t quite capture the spirit of whatever it’s supposed to be? That’s kind of how I felt watching The Addams Family 2019. It was close but not quite there. It had something to say and took its swipes, but it missed the point of the TV show and lacked the expertly skewed humor of the comic strip which inspired that very series.
Years after the Addams family move into their home they discover they are near a development called ‘Assimilation’ that’s all about having everybody act the same. Really? I’m not against a message that’s against conformity but this is really heavy handed. The Addams Family series as well as two of the preceding films gently slipped their assorted messages either for the episode or for the story in. You may have picked up on it, but it didn’t necessarily hit you over the head.
There’s also a swipe at home schooling as Wednesday has never been allowed out of the house and has been taught entirely at home. That’s fine and dandy if that’s if you have an anti-school homeschooling message but her weirdness at one point was a strength. Now it appears to be a biproduct of homeschooling and a weakness because of. She is framed as damaged or weak.
Wednesday makes a friend named Parker and turns Parker goth. I think they’re intending for it to be a riff on the goth aesthetic and not a serious take on the whole style. Wednesday on the other hand starts embracing color. One thing the character Wednesday had going for her was that she knew exactly who she was. She was secure in herself.
The same could be said for the whole Addams Family yet Wednesday is uncertain and kind of lost. She went from a strong young woman to an uncertain character. Gone is the strength of the character and replaced with generic uncertain child. Part of the appeal of her was that she was somebody that knew herself.
The Addams Family 2019 at the start appears to be making Wednesday the focus but her story gives away to what originally appeared to be a subplot about Pugsley and the Addams family tradition of the Mazurka marking the step of an Addams into adulthood. This leads into what amounts to a narrative middle finger to tradition even though that has been a strong element in previous iterations. I bring this up since bits and pieces that have helped the concept stand above others in the past have been removed thus watering down everything.
The villain of the movie, Margaux Needler, is the host of one of those home makeover shows who is responsible for the development near the Addams family home. She’s immediately against the Addams family because they’re different and sets out orchestrating a social media campaign against them to force them out of the area so they don’t bring down property values. Adequate villain plot there even if it is poorly executed. The people fall for it with little effort like sheep.
And I am bothered with her disposition. The issue is that at the end of the movie at the minimum she is a business partner to Fester and at most dating him based on language (though I am unsure how that may have happened) and the townspeople are all cool with her. The thing is she had cameras installed in every home so she could watch them all. These cameras were even in the bathrooms! That just gets kind of swept under the rug and ignored as Margaux gets rehabbed and everybody is all happy.
The narrative is not terribly focused. Who is/are the main charter(s)? Is it Pugsley? Is it Wednesday? Could it even be Parker and her need to rebel? What is the point of the story? Is it that conformity is bad? Is it that tradition is not everything? Is it that reality television is bad? Not sure.
The humor is adequate but pretty safe with a wink and nod joke or two. The Addams Family is oblivious to just how different they really are. Or was but here they get that and understand that is why they were driven from their first home. They are seeking acceptance and wanting to fit in rather than being blind to being treated differently. The message was that the Addams family accepted others despite the differences and did not see others treating them differently or just did not get why they did.
The movie looks good. Anybody who’s followed this blog long for a while knows I have my issues with CGI. And the reason it looks good is in part because it’s only a few years old and the technology has not advanced to the point that others can do better. But it also has a style reminiscent of the Charles Addams strip. I give them props for that.
The Addams Family 2019 will certainly entertain kids and maybe be a passable one-off viewing for adults but it’s not that good. If you come across it, it’ll pass the time but it’s not something worth seeking out. I’ll say you can skip this.