Directors: Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon
Starring: Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll, Snoop Dogg, Bette Midler and Allison Janney
Run time: 1h 26m
The Addams Family are just over 80 years old and with a colourful array of characters, and their quirky love of the macabre, are well and truly established as one of entertainment’s most iconic families. In this animated addition to their saga, all the familiar faces, and hands, are present and correct and brought up to date in this social media aware comedy.
Seemingly oblivious to their own eccentricities, the gruesome gang regularly find themselves hounded by intolerant locals and forced to flee. Driven away and desperate to find a place they can call their own, free from judgement and prejudice, they end up crashing into an escaped mental patient and stumble upon an abandoned asylum which becomes home, sweet home.
Meanwhile, in the neighbouring community of Assimilation, Margaux Needler’s (Janney) television makeover show and property business is at threat from the new arrivals and she sets to turn the residents against the Addams in a bid to move them on. Her sinister methods alienate her from her daughter as the clash of cultures threaten to expose her true colours.
The impressive ensemble cast including Oscar Isaac, Nick Kroll and Bette Midler features strong vocal performances, particularly from Theron and Moretz as Morticia and Wednesday, but the visual gags and background detail are a lot funnier than the dialogue which simply isn’t amusing enough. There’s enough slapstick to keep the kids entertained and a smattering of innuendo to bring a knowing smile to the grown-ups watching, but with a more consistent gag-rate the film’s spirits could’ve been raised considerably.
The animation and colours are easy on the eye and Jeff and Michael Danna’s score features some clever interpretations of the famous theme tune. There’s an inspired use of an R.E.M. song and one or two nods to iconic horror scenes.
In the cold black heart of The Addams Family is an important message about accepting people for who they are, warts and all, but I can’t help thinking it would’ve had more emotional impact if the mighty Pixar had been in charge of delivering it. Tolerance and understanding are explored but not in any real depth and here, characters aren’t developed in any detail and the plot is certainly nothing we haven’t seen before.
There’s a wealth of animated movies for us all to enjoy today, many of which are more emotive than live-action films, and whilst The Addams Family clicks a lot of boxes, it too often finds itself lurching about in the generic safety of a standard family film.
The Addams Family haunts UK cinemas from October 25.