The Addams Family 2: A Little Bland, but Still Enjoyable
It seems like just yesterday I found myself casually napping my way through the first animated ‘Addams Family’ movie – a boring, generic slog that thankfully didn’t sully the good name of the original TV series and the movies from the ’90s.
Assuming everyone felt the same way I did about the 2019 film, I was even more surprised to see a sequel ready to roll in 2021. I was again surprised to learn that movie brought in over $200 at the box office.
Given that success, I decided to give ‘The Addams Family 2’ a shot (and even revisited the original in advance) to see if I missed something the first time around.
Turns out there might be a little something here with this franchise. (Emphasis on little.)
Chloë Grace Moretz as the voice of Wednesday Addams, Charlize Theron as the voice of Morticia Addams, Oscar Isaac as the voice of Gomez Addams, and Javon Walton as the voice of Pugsley Addams in ‘The Addams Family 2,’ directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon, a Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. (Photo courtesy of Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures.)
This time out, the family are still accepted, albeit weird, members of their community. With Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) competing in the local science fair, Gomez (Oscar Isaac), Morticia (Charlize Theron), and Pugsley (Javon Walton) show up to support – and embarrass – the palest member of their clan.
Wednesday’s experiment, in which she uses squid DNA to improve a severely flawed human, in this case Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll), is hands down the best project, but a new school policy declares all students equal winners.
Despite not winning, Wednesday’s efforts do catch the eye of Cyrus Strange (Bill Hader), a successful scientist who sponsored the competition. He invites Wednesday, to work with him on her project, but she declines, telling him it’s a family secret.
Chloë Grace Moretz as the voice of Wednesday Addams, and Charlize Theron as the voice of Morticia Addams in ‘The Addams Family 2.’ (Photo courtesy of Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures. © 2021 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
But what if Wednesday isn’t actually family? That’s the claim of Mr. Mustela (Wallace Shawn), an attorney that shows up after the science fair to tell Gomez and Morticia that was a mistake at the hospital and that Wednesday might not actually be theirs.
With Mustela on their tails, and the children getting more distant from him as they get older, Gomez decides it’s time for a cross country family road trip, visiting places like Salem, Sleepy Hollow, and Death Valley along the way.
Generally speaking, I like animated movies that rely on smart humor and offer new takes on the popular themes of the genre (family, being yourself, accepting differences, etc.). This one doesn’t really rely either of those things. The humor, sans one really subtly dark Wednesday joke involving Mustela, is pretty sterile, which makes sense given the PG rating. Likewise, it uses a predictable and recycled methods of pushing the theme of family.
Javon Walton as the voice of Pugsley Addams, Chloë Grace Moretz as the voice of Wednesday Addams, Conrad Vernon as the voice of Lurch, Charlize Theron as the voice of Morticia Addams, Oscar Isaac as the voice of Gomez Addams, and Nick Kroll as the voice of Uncle Fester in ‘The Addams Family 2,’ directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon, a Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. (Photo courtesy of Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures. © 2021 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
Despite a relative lack of creativity, I found myself smiling more often than not over the course of the 92-minute runtime. Perhaps I’m just a sucker for a fun road trip story. Or perhaps having watched several movies over the last few years with my 6-year-old nephew – everything from Pixar to Marvel to ‘Jaws’ to the original ‘Frankenstein’ – I can appreciate a straight-forward family movie that doesn’t require an explanation about every joke (or non-answer if they’re working a little blue) and plot device that’s geared more for the adults in the audience.
So, while it’s flawed and certainly not on par with the black and white show from ’60s or the ’90s movies, I think there’s definitely a place for an animated Addams Family in the ’20s.
★★★ of ★★★★★