Since 1938, the cartoons of Charles Addams have spooked, scared and made us laugh at this peculiarly eccentric family. This latest adaptation takes a squeamish look at pop culture, technology, the parent-child relationship and acceptance of the different in our culture.
After being driven out of their homeland by angry townspeople moments after their wedding, Gomez (Oscar Issac) and Morticia Addams (Charlize Theron) with trusted friend, Hand, seek a place that will accept and understand them. They find a swamp in New Jersey and a deserted mental hospital to call home. Its only resident, a musical giant named Lurch (Conrad Vernon), becomes their houseman and chauffeur. Thirteen years pass, children Wednesday (Chloe Grace Moretz) and Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard) arrive. All appears well ... or is it?
Wednesday is bored with the isolation of her teenage life and wonders what is beyond the swamp’s fog. Pugsley is a master of explosives and delights in ambushing family members. He is also training for his mazurka. Enter Margaux Needler (Allison Janney), a TV DIY superstar who is draining the swamp to build the “ideal community” that everyone must live in! But as the fog clears, the Addams mansion becomes visible to the community of pastels and golf carts. Margaux becomes determined to get rid of these “monsters.” How, you may ask? By starting a campaign of texting and bullying, of course.
Meanwhile, Wednesday starts middle school and feels right at home in the “caged environment where the young learn to survive.” As she tells Morticia, “How can you deprive me the opportunity to torment children my own age?” She confronts the mean girls with true terror and becomes a hero to other misfits such as Margaux’s neglected rebellious daughter, Parker (Elsie Fisher)
However, Gomez and Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll) are more concerned about Pugsley. He is having trouble becoming a master of the saber for his Mazurka. How will he ever be accepted as a “true Addams”?
The plot is set. But how will it unfold? Will the Addams be run out of town again or will Margaux Needler have them assimilated into her beige Utopia. Can Wednesday and Pugsley be themselves or is conformity the only answer to societal happiness? Big issues for a Halloween cartoon!
These big issues are for the adults, as is some of the snappy dialogue and way over the children’s heads jokes. This is a child’s delight of scary ghouls, a haunted mansion, boiling cauldrons, explosions, and freakishly bizarre Addams relatives. Keep your ears tuned for Snoop Dogg as Cousin It and Martin Short and Catherine O’Hara as Morticia’s parents, Grandma and Grandpa Frump. Bette Midler shines as Grandmama, Gomez’s mother.
This is a Saturday morning cartoon come to the big screen. It’s not “Moana, or “Frozen” – but, ‘They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky; altogether ‘ooky’ The Addams Family!”
“The Addams Family” is rated PG for macabre and suggestive humor, and some action.