tek's rating: ¼

The Addams Family (PG-13)
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Caution: spoilers!

A 1991 film based on the 1960s TV series The Addams Family, which itself was based on a series of single-panel cartoons I've never read. There's this wealthy but somewhat creepy family: Gomez Addams (Raúl Juliá), his wife Morticia (Anjelica Huston), and their children: a daughter named Wednesday (Christina Ricci) and a son named Pugsley. Also Grandmama. And they have a butler named Lurch, and there's a disembodied hand named Thing. I should say, I'm not sure if I'd even seen the show, when this came out, but I am sure I didn't see the movie until some years later, anyway. By the time I saw it, I'd probably seen some of the show. I don't remember exactly when I first saw the movie, on TV or something, but I'm watching it on DVD in 2012, which is when I'm writing the review. And I've definitely seen some of the show, several years ago. So whatever. And I'm sure I must've read positive reviews. In any event, I do have an interest in the macabre, to some degree, so this kind of movie appeals to me on that level.

Um... I think everyone in the cast definitely did a good job of playing their roles. Though I do prefer the original TV actors as Gomez and Morticia... I have absolutely no complaints about the movie actors. Ricci is definitely better as movie Wednesday than the TV Wednesday was, and Pugsley... hell, I don't care much about him in either medium. Christopher Lloyd was pretty good as Fester in the movie, though the role is different in the movie than it was in the series, for a reason I'll get to soon. Like right now. See, at the start of the movie we learn that Gomez Addams's brother Fester has been missing for 25 years. And every year, the Addamses have performed a seance, trying to contact him (assuming him to be dead). Meanwhile, there's this lawyer named Tully (Dan Hedaya) who works for Gomez (who is Tully's last paying client, because Tully is presumably no good). He has a scheme to swindle Gomez out of some money, so he can pay back a debt he owes to a woman named Craven. However, the scheme is taking too long, and Craven wants her money back now. To intimidate Tully, she brings along her son, Gordon, who roughs him up. But Tully realizes that Gordon looks just like the long-lost Fester Addams. So he comes up with a new scheme, to have Gordon pose as Fester, and find the vault where Gomez keeps all his money (in the form of gold dubloons). Craven poses as a German psychiatrist named Dr. Pinder-Schloss, who claims Fester was found in fishing nets in or near the Bermuda Triangle. Or something. The story isn't very clear; tests were done to determine who he was, so presumably Fester was supposed to have had amnesia, though he now doesn't act as if he does... even though it would have made a lot more sense for him to do so.

Anyway... Gomez is at first thrilled to have his brother back, though he was worried about a falling-out they'd had, all those years ago, which he assumed had driven Fester away. (I won't get into the details.) But Wednesday suspected Fester was an impostor, and eventually Gomez came to believe that, too. (Morticia, as always, is hard to read. Also I should say I don't think she'd ever met Fester before, since it seems like he disappeared before she met Gomez.) Meanwhile, I feel like anyone watching the movie couldn't help but wonder, from the first time they see Gordon, if the movie might turn out to have a sort of "Anastasia" plot going on, where the person pretending to be someone turns out to be that person, after all, and doesn't even know it. And I'm telling you right now: Gordon does turn out to be Fester. Throughout the movie, there are moments that make it seem increasingly likely, but it isn't revealed for a certainty until the very end. So yeah, I'm spoiling the end. But if you didn't see it coming... feh. Deal with it. You have no excuse, because it was totally predictable, and if spoiling it makes me evil... so what? If you don't like evil, then you won't like this movie, anyway.

Heh... not that the Addamses are really evil. I mean, in theory they are, but... they never actually do evil. They play at it. They're probably capable of it. I'm sure they'd enjoy it. But they don't do evil. If they did, the movie would probably be a lot less funny. But, you know... if you can't laugh at the idea of evil, then... that's what I'm saying. You won't like the movie.

Um... what else can I say? I feel like I'm leaving out some plot points, but I think you get the gist. I suppose there's no need to say any more. There's plenty of weirdness, and it's amusing. Like the bloody swordfight Wednesday and Pugsley have in their school play (which in retrospect, reminds me of my favorite scene from Jersey Girl... which came out a few years after this). And I always liked the song "Addams Groove" by Hammer (formerly MC Hammer), which plays over the end credits. And um, there are lots of nice visual gags (like when Grandmama is simultaneously reading "The Joy of Cooking" and "Gray's Anatomy"). Anyway... it's just a fun movie. If you like that kind of thing.

Followed by Addams Family Values.

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