Addams Family Values (1993)

(On DVD, August 2017) Normally, I’m not too happy to report that a sequel is “more of the same,” but given my enthusiasm for 1990’s The Addams Family, I’m almost overjoyed to say that this sequel is, indeed, more of the same. The plot is just different enough to be interesting (as Fester is seduced by a gold-digging, husband-killing new character) but the atmosphere of the first film remains largely the same. Under the macabre humour lies genuine family love (although some early segments do push the limits of sibling rivalry), and the jokes are best when they’re unexpected. (I laughed far more than I ought to have at a simple “I respect that” or “Wait”) The strengths of the two Addams Family movies are the set pieces more than the plot, and this one does have one of the most honest depiction of Thanksgiving put on film, as well as a hilariously juvenile justification (with slides!) from the antagonist. Director Barry Sonnefeld has made one of his good movies here (the rest of his career … hit-and-miss), but much of the credit goes to the actors themselves. Raul Julia is fantastic as Gomez, Anjelica Huston is just as good as Morticia (while her impassible giving-birth scene is great, it took me far too long to notice the lighting effect on her eyes, but then it became hilarious to see it used in all circumstances), Christina Ricci shines as Wednesday and Joan Cusak holds up as Debbie. This sequel clicks in the same ways the original did, and yet still feels fresh enough to avoid accusations of re-threading. At this point, don’t bother seeing the first film if you don’t have Addams Family Values nearby, ready to be watched.

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