Gretchen Lee—Copy Editor
The Addams family is a cornerstone of Halloween pop culture; they’re a kooky, creepy, mysterious, and spooky satire of North American nuclear families, providing lighthearted fun with a dark twist. There have been many iterations of the Addamses over the years, including newspaper comics, live-action television, a cartoon series, a live-action movie trilogy and, now, in the latest reboot, 3-D animated movies. As a fan of the live action The Addams Family and Addams Family Values as well as the first animated film, I was excited for the release of the sequel. Sadly, The Addams Family 2 falls a bit short.
Based partially on the 1973 cartoon show, The Addams Family 2 sees the Addamses heading out for a family road trip in their Victorian-style RV. As they traverse iconic sights across the U.S., Pugsley attempts to find love, Wednesday ponders her place in the world, Morticia and Gomez attempt to prevent Wednesday from finding out that she may not biologically be related to the rest of them, and Fester begins to turn into an octopus.
This film has some high points. First, it’s full of several excellent Addams-style hijinks and solid one-liners. Subverted expectations and off-the-wall puns are a signature of any Addams media, and this film certainly delivers on that point. The beginning of the film is also incredibly well-executed, with a fun plot and entertaining action sequences that definitely had me laughing. Besides humor, the classic feelings of family love were also present, and, in the more serious moments of the film, these elicited excellent emotional reactions from the audience.
However, once the movie hits the second act, the storyline becomes too full. The writers try to weave too many plotlines together, making the end of the film overwhelming. That, and the addition of too many extended musical sequences that started off amusing and grew cringy all too fast, made the film feel overall dissatisfying. I would have far preferred that the movie stick to the road trip hijinks, Morticia and Gomez’s evasion of the private agent, Pugsley’s futile attempts at attracting girls, and Wednesday’s Shakespearean musings at the darkness of existence.
In the midst of the messy plot, however, I did appreciate the callbacks to prior versions of The Addams Family. The references to the lesser-known animated show in both the movie and the credits sequence felt like a proper tribute. There were plenty of references to some of the original comics and older films as well, which was fun to see. It almost would have been enough to maintain the Addams vibes of the film, were it not for the strange, modern evil-scientist twist at the end that brought the characters too far out of their usual, gothic surroundings.
In the end, this movie felt a little too much like a twisted ball of Despicable Me-flavored twine and not enough like the fun, twisted family film I was hoping for when I heard about this sequel. It failed to live up to the precedent set by the first movie and tried too hard to fit too much into an hour and a half. It did have fun moments and quotable lines, but The Addams Family 2 might be the first film I’ve seen where I was hoping for less, not more.