- Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
- November 19, 1993 (US)
- Based on the characters from the cartoon created by cartoonist Charles Addams and the 1964 TV series produced by David Levy
Gomez and Morticia Addams hire a nanny to care for their newborn son Pubert who turns out to be a black widow with her eyes set on Uncle Fester.
Some people call Terminator 2: Judgement Day the best sequel. Others give that to The Empire Strikes Back. I would like to add to that list Addams Family Values. It is an absolutely hilarious sequel to The Addams Family. It comes off as a more polished version of the concept in comparison to its predecessor which is more of a rough draft in not only the style and aesthetic of director Barry Sonnenfeld but also the humor.
Having become a star because of the first film, Christina Ricci’s Wednesday Addams is given a much more beefed-up role with her and her brother Pugsley (Jimmy Workman) getting what amounts to an almost entirely separate story set at a summer camp. Seriously. What goes on at the summer camp is all about Wednesday and has very little to do with what would appear to be the main storyline.
That main storyline? Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd) is rather lonely after having returned to the family. He’s been listening at doors and peeking through keyholes at Gomez and Morticia and wants what they have. Enter nanny Debbie Jellinsky (Joan Cusack) hired to care for the youngest Addams Pubert (Kristen Hooper). Fester is immediately smitten by the nanny who it turns out is a black widow that marries and kills her husbands for the money. Cusack is all fake smiles and superficial exterior in her performance which makes her perfectly evil here.
The Wednesday story at the summer camp is rather hilarious and its main theme seems to be about the colonization that led to the first Thanksgiving and its aftermath. I applaud them for taking it on in a very comical way and capping it off with what they feel the Native Americans should’ve done rather than what actually occurred. Whatever your feelings on Thanksgiving are they certainly get their message across without beating you over the head with it nor turning you off to this whole movie.
And somehow in all this they even fit in a summer romance subplot with Wednesday and a boy she meets at camp named Joel Glicker (David Krumholtz). It’s as weird and cute in its own way as anything that occurs with Gomez and Morticia. The get it to be cute.
Though the relationship between Gomez (Raul Julia) and Morticia (Anjelica Huston) still comically passionate it’s much more genuine than it is just a straight up laugh. These are two people so in love it makes you sick. We have all known one or two couples like that in our lives.
Though he is crafted as macabre Gomez is also portrayed as dashing and charming and in a moment or two able to gain the interest of a woman with his general magnetism though he clearly saves at all for Morticia.
Christopher Lloyd is one of the great character actors of our time as well as just a generally great actor. From Reverend Jim on Taxi to Kruge in Star Trek III to Doc Brown in the amazing Back to the Future trilogy, this man has been amazing in just about everything he has ever done. Heck he was great in that questionable UPN series Deadly Games.
While Pubert is an excuse to get the plot rolling, he also aids in the ending. With the entire family secured he is disregarded yet his actions from escaping from the crib to just about everything else are what eventually leads to Debbie’s demise and the family’s safety.
Barry Sonnenfeld has a unique vision and he brings that to this movie as he does with all of his work. It’s just a well written and well done from start to finish quirky comedy. Not only does it give you laughs but it gives you a little something to think about. A movie that gives you something genuinely to think about or that really genuinely makes you laugh in a timeless way will have staying power. Combine the two and you have movie magic.
Addams Family Values is a great follow-up to The Addams Family. It’s a classic film that improves upon not only what the director did in the first but the general story elements of the first as well. You will laugh and be entertained throughout this whole movie. I strongly recommend this!