Prime: The Addams Family

An animated film about the Addams Family.

You know there’s a lot of things I wouldn’t entirely count as a surprise in 2020. A worldwide pandemic exacerbated by corporate greed, the indifference of politicians to human suffering, and the selfish need to go to spring break despite danger? Not surprising. Murder hornets? Not surprising. The idea that a meteor might collide with Earth? Definitely not surprising. But the realization that the Addams Family animated film was actually enjoyable? Dear god in Heaven.

The Addams Family is a 2019 film directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan who you may recognize from their directorial roles on Sausage Party. Yea, the Addams Family film is being made by the same guys who directed an animated food orgy. The Addams Family is one of those properties that has a long history with devoted fans who have literally spent their entire lives with the characters. In short it’s an easy thing to screw up.

So I think that most people had a very visceral and negative reaction when they saw this image.

As is the case with most of these movies, Addams Family has a star-studded cast of talent. Gomez (Oscar Isaac) and Morticia (Charlize Theron) Addams move to their new home in New Jersey, an abandoned insane asylum outside of the town of Assimilation along with butler Lurch (Conrad Vernon) and Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll).

The town of Assimilation isn’t subtle. The Addams Family has always been about an off-color family who do their own thing dealing with the boring uniform world of suburbia. The town of Assimilation is run by your average middling white housewife Margaux Needler (Allison Janney) who makes a living out of building and selling neighborhoods where everything is color coded and individuality is not just a poor virtue, it’s a bad habit in need of stamping out. Margaux needs to get the Addams Family out of the picture if she’s going to sell her grotesque new town to homeowners.

Pugsley’s plot (Finn Wolfhard) deals with his upcoming Mazurka, a barmitsvah of sorts where he’ll have to perform a complicated sword dance in front of his family and read from the Terror (get it?). Wednesday (ChloĆ« Grace Moretz) is becoming a rebellious child where in this family rebellion means wearing a pink unicorn hairpiece and clothing with color. She provides the culture clash that the town of Assimilation needs to see the virtue of individualism, as well as the Addams seeing outside their own worldview.

It has everything you want out of Addams Family, including the family’s numerous attempts to maim one another. Lurch mostly seems to be in the movie to perform musical numbers. They even got Snoop Dogg to appear and play Cousin It.

Addams Family is shockingly endearing for something you’d expect would be a shameless cash-in on an established name. It doesn’t insult the property or the fans and the art style plays an homage to the original comic strip.

It won’t be the most memorable film you see, but Addams Family is a fun romp that is suitable for the whole family.

Rating: B+

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