34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2001
In "Addams Family Values," the jokes are funnier, the story is much more enjoyable, and the characters are more developed and easy to follow. The original cast is back for another round of gags and comedy, while the writers and director Barry Sonnenfield have chosen to stick with a story that works with the gags and laughs instead of just providing an outlet for them. This is one of the rare sequels that surpasses the original; I loved this movie!
The movie begins with the arrival of baby Pubert, in a hilarious send-up of birth scenes with a twist: the mother-to-be enjoys the labor pains. From this point on, the movie goes into three different stories which lead into one another. One dives into the children reacting to the new baby, doing everything from dropping him from the roof to placing him under the guillotine. Their antics are relentless, which leads into the second story as Gomez and Morticia decide to hire a nanny, picking the good-natured Debbie Jilinsky to care for their infant son. Fester falls head over heels in love with the new nanny, who is actually a murderess out for his wealth and fortune.
Debbie's suspicions that Wednesday and Pugsley know too much leads into the third story, as she has them shipped off to summer camp, where the sun and cheery attitudes of the campers and counselors are enough to make even the audience cringe in fear. As Debbie carries out her devious plans, the children are put through the hells of the camp until they can take it no longer, rounding out the movie's comedic climax with laughs galore.
Like the previous film, the original cast remains intact, with the exception of Grandmother Addams. Raul Julia and Anjelica Houston reprise the roles of Gomez and Morticia, whose romance is put on a back burner from its vivacity in the first film, allowing most of the story to rest on the shoulders of Wednesday and Pugsley, once again played by Christina Ricci and Jimmy Workman. There is a lot more to their characters as they make their way through the treacheries of camp: Wednesday has matured into a much fuller character, while Pugsley remains childlike and naive. Fester, played by Christopher Lloyd, is shown as a hopeless romantic who honestly thinks his appearance has nothing to do with his inability to attain a female partner, while Debbie is played excellently by Joan Cusack, who knack for comedy and colorful phrases make her a uniquely comedic villain.
The contrasts abide within the story of Fester and Debbie and the trysts at summer camp. Fester's unconventional ways become trying for Debbie to live with; try as she might, she's still a "normal" human being. Wednesday and Pugsley's camp experience provides a sharp contrast: their refusal to take part in the events at camp bring the counselors, who are complete airheads that reminded me of the ditzy girls in high school, to the edge of losing it, but instead, they are forced into a place known as the Harmony Hut, where they are subjected to Disney films and Brady Bunch reruns.
In some ways, these contrasts could make the movie a social satire of sorts. The ways in which one character's lifestyle is compared to that of another are fascinating, and while the Addams are highly unconventional, the remaining characters from the real world are in no way considered normal. So the movie poses us that very question: "Who's to say what is normal?"
That said, let's move on to the story, which is highly better than that of the original movie. This one actually produces the gags, having the feel that the story was written before the laughs were. The original had the feel that all the laughs were tossed into the air and placed in random spots, which would work because the gags never seemed attached to any specific storyline. Here, the comedy comes from the story, and the two work together marvelously at producing side-splitting laughs and subtle humor.
I couldn't help but enjoy myself while watching this movie. It made me laugh like I haven't laughed in a long time, while also keeping the characters intact and convincing. Sonnenfield has done a terrific job in creating this sequel, which is definitely the better of the two films.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2004
The other night the first "Addams Family" film was on local television, and in watching it I was reminded of how much I liked the show, and the films made from it - but as much as I loved the first, "Addams Family Values" surpasses it.
The storylines here are fuller; none of that a Fester who isn't Fester is really Fester stuff that seemed too scripted. Here, the 3 ongoing plots are more naturally-born from there characters:
Morticia and Gomez (Anjelica Huston and Raul Julia, the most perfect casting seen in film in some time) have just had a new baby. Dealing with new parenthood is bad enough, but when your two older children are doing their best to do away with their new baby brother ... well, even though he's pretty capable of taking care of himself, Morticia and Gomez have their hands full;
Then there's Debbie, played BRILLIANTLY by the underrated Joan Cusack, who comes to help with the children but instead is a notorious Black Widow-style murderess bent on marrying Fester and getting her hands on the Addams's fortune. Part of her plan in doing so is to get rid of the two older children, Pugsley and Wednesday, by sending them to a summer camp;
Pugsley and Wednesday are horrified by the cheery atmosphere at camp -- not to mention the caffeinated perkiness of the camp counselors, who are at times both revolted and ticked off by the 'weirdness' of the Addams kids.
All plotlines come together in a hilarious ending that remains true to the characters, and seems to come naturally from the story.
Christina Ricci (another of Hollywood's great underrated performers), as Wednesday Addams, again steals every scene she's in with ease -- her deadpan playing of Wednesday could not be more perfect. Watch for the segment where Wednesday and Pugsley perform their little scene from a play at camp; you'll wet your pants laughing! Joan Cusack is, again, brilliant in her portrayal of Debbie, the killer with a heart of stone.
In fact, the whole cast works perfectly together for this superior sequel, with enough one-liners and sight gags and twisted humor to keep you laughing from beginning to end. I didn't own either movie on DVD when I saw the first one on tv the other night (though had seen them both in theaters), but have since bought both ... though got this one first. So gather with your shawl on, find a roost that you can crawl on, and catch this great comedy -- a must-see for anyone in need of some good belly laughs!
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
I'm not exaggerating when I say I saw this film in the theater at least a dozen times. It's that good!
If it was the job of the first film to introduce the characters, it is the job of ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES to put them in their worst possible positions. Providing those worst possible positions are: Morticia's new baby, complete with blond hair and shiny smile (grandmother predicts that such a charm may result in him becoming, horror of horror, the President); Fester's new gold-digging girlfriend Debbie; and Wednesday and Pugsley's trip to summer camp. My favorite part of this movie is when Wednesday is cast as Pocahontas in the camp's production of a Thanksgiving play: "You have taken the land that is rightfully ours," Wednesday confronts, in an impromtu ad lib delivered to the mortified surprise of the play's perky directors and the affluent audience. "And for all these reasons," Wednesday continues, "I have decided to scalp you. . . ." It really is Wednesday who steals this show with her ghoulish deadpan delivery, and it could be argued that this was Christina Ricci's breakout role. Who would have ever thought that little Wednesday would eclipse the entire gang?
ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES was released in the early '90s when talk of "family values," mostly ignited by Dan Quayle's condemnation of a fictitious sitcom character giving birth without being married, was all the rage. Talk of "family values" was everywhere in those days. Apparently, it would be the Addams's turn to show us what we should really value: individuality. For all their quirks, they seem to have an unconditional acceptance of each other, and most couples would be blessed to be as madly in love with each other as Gomez (Raul Julia) and Morticia (Angelica Huston) are.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2007
I actually liked this movie better then the first one, simply because Christina Ricci's portrayal of Wednesday went from wonderful to brilliant. Slightly older, Ricci further developed her character and projected pure evil. I thought she "stole the show".
In addition, I liked the actress who portrayed "Grandmama" better then the previous one. Like Wednesday, she turned up the "evil meter". She just seemed to fit in better.
Addams Family Values has to be watched a number of times to catch all the funny little phrases and one liners. Brilliant writing combines with great characterizations to produce a movie to delight those who love dark humor.
Payback time at the camp was simply delicious. As a child, I would have found a lot in common with Wednesday's attitude towards the whole camping experience, with its fake facade of peace, love and all that BS. It brought back a lot of my own feelings as a youngster who was a bit out of the ordinary and often mocked because of it. Go Wednesday!
Usually sequels fall short of the original, but this one, IMO, went beyond the first film for comedy and originality. No fan of the Addams family, and especially Wednesday, should miss adding this gem to his/her DVD collection.
And I wish to add a big postumous thank you to Charles Addams himself, whose dark sense of humor and brilliant artwork produced this deliciously gothic family in the first place. I'm sure he would be pleased as punch at these fine portrayals of his ghoulish creations.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 1999
As A large fan of the original TV series. I feel I can say this film is worthy. Alas without Raul Julia there can not be a third. He was a wonderful Gomez. [I still deny the existance of Roger Moore as 007 too BTW] Angelica Huston was a perfect Morticia too. The tango scene was to die for. [Daryl Hanna ? WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING !] Chris Lloyd was a great Fester. Pugsly was Pugsly what can you say ? Same for Lurch and Thing. Joan Cusak was perfect. Hmmmm ? Who else ? KIDDING ! Christina Ricci ! O Yessss ! an absolute delight. Totally Wednesday. If she wasn't such a total babe I would regret she had to grow up. Delightful evil child. Just wonderfly cast, written, acted and directed.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2010
Being perfectly honest, I liked the original series of the 60s. But I didn't like the 1st movie AT ALL.
This 2nd movie was in my opinion a great improvement over the 1st. After the turmoil of Fester's questionable role in part 1, order seems to have been restored, and he is a full fledged Addams now. The movie begins with Morticia giving birth to a new child. Wednesday and Puglsey are of course jealous, and as a result, Gomez and Morticia hire a nanny.
In an interesting and somewhat plausible twist, this nanny has the goal of wooing Fester and then bumping him off for the family fortune. But of course, the Addamses have ways of walking out of what would kill the average person, so this makes it all the more darkly funny. (And with Fester's naive nature, we don't know whether to laugh or pity him.) The original Fester may have decided to: "Just shoot her in the back."
It is interesting that in the movie, we see the hypocrisy of hiding evil in what appears to be normal. (Especially at the summer camp.) How Thanksgiving began as the exploitation of the Native American Indians; having our favorites in a group and making everyone else feel worthless and unwanted; using artificial 'sweetness' to avoid fact and reality; etc.
Overall, the plots and subplots fit together rather well. In a dark, but still touching scenario, Wednesday finds a possible match. (Someone who oddly and by sheer coincidence looks like a young Harry Potter.)
What makes this movie so interesting is like the series, we start by thinking the Addams family is strange. But then we see the cruelty and evils in the 'conventional' characters. To say nothing of hypocrisy.
Without going on for too long, there are some real signature scenes such as the dance between Gomez and Morticia at the restaurant. The wedding is also well done.
My one small complaint is that I wish Lurch could have said (even if just once) his famous line: "You rang?"
Although I didn't like the 1st movie, I really do suggest this 2nd movie.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2003
This movie is pretty much perfect. Anjelica Huston, Christina Ricci, and Christopher Lloyd excel in their performances as the most noticable of the family members. They know how to act in a dark comedy like this, where a mother might have to take away the knife her daughter is chasing the younger brother around with. And hand her an axe in replacement.
The movie has about three sub-plots. The first involves Morticia and Gomez, the parents, who just had a baby and are having to deal with all three of their children at once ( Wednesday and Pugsley, the children, are infatuated with disposing of the infant ).
While the children are plotting away, a nanny is hired. Her name is Debbie, played very well by Joan Cusack. Unbeknownst to the family, she is a criminal who marries rich men and then kills them, earning her a famous black-widow reputation. The second sub-plot involves her advances towards a relationship with Uncle Fester, one of the world's richest men.
The third sub-plot is Debbie's decision that Wednesday and Pugsley be sent to summer camp, which is basically the Addams's vision of Hell. Or Heaven. Whichever they like the least.
The movie is filled with hilarious one-liners and events, and the Addamses will charm almost anyone with their twisted, morbid lives.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2004
This movie was exelent. It all starts with "Gomez, wonderful news. I'm going to have a baby-right now!" Well, that leads to a baby; a baby sitter-who wants to marry Fester and steal his money. Thats not to mention she's planning to kill the entire family in the prosess. Wach this movie; but wach the first one too.
- An Anjelica Huston Fan
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2013
There is a new addition to the Addams Family: Pubert, a darling little dark-haired baby with a mustache just like his daddy's. This bundle of fire-breathing joy have made his parents very proud... and his siblings sincerely jealous. Wednesday (Ricci) has convinced her brother Pugsley (Workman) that whenever a new child comes into the family, one of the older children must die -- a practice that is no longer in use. Their mother Morticia (Huston) is slightly disconcerted that caring for the baby leaves no time for her to pursue hellish activities, and so her husband Gomez (Julia) arranges to have a nanny brought in.
The first three don't last more than an hour. Then the doorbell rings and a winning, cleavage-bearing blonde enters their morbid existence and immediately wins over the shy heart of Uncle Fester (Lloyd). Little do the Addams Family know that Debbie (Joan Cusack) is a notorious serial killer with a long succession of marrying men for their fortune and then abruptly ending their life on the wedding night. She manages to prevent the children from murdering Pubert on numerous occasions but when Wednesday becomes suspicious of her true intentions, manipulates their parents into sending them off to summer camp. The well-lit, wooded place of "fun and learning" is a nightmare for two brooding, pale children dressed entirely in black, and they conspire to make camp a living hell for its happier occupants while their parents are conflicted by Fester's marriage to Debbie and subsequent shunning of them.
What Debbie forgot is that Addams Family members don't die the first time around. Or the second. Or even the third. What she winds up with is increasing frustration and a very much alive husband! What results is two hours of excessively morbid humor in the tradition of the first film, only this one is a lot more fun. The characters have all gotten to the point where nothing surprises us so much as it delights us, and having mustached little Pubert in the background (including when he becomes ill and sprouts lovely golden locks, much to the suicidal dismay of his parents) only increases the experience. We encounter a little bit of Wednesday's romantic side, revealing that yes, one she may live up to her mother's potential. Everything is very tongue in cheek and meant to inspire laughs, and for the most part there are no serious spiritual issues to contend with. "Grandma" is something of a witch, but aside from handing Debbie a skull and informing her that there's a curse on it, she remains in the background.
More prevalent is the dark humor, which involves numerous attempts by the Addams children to dispatch their baby brother. They try throwing him off the top of the house (his dad happens to open a window and catch him). They place him into a mini guillotine (Pubert stops the blade). They try dropping a cannon ball on him (it misses). Once at summer camp, after being punished for their gloom through the torture of watching musicals and Disney movies all day long, the children turn malicious, setting fire to out buildings, threatening to scalp a girl, and sassing their elders. A woman is electrocuted and turns to dust. There are numerous sly references to torture during lovemaking. When confronted with a wild story of how babies grow in cabbage patches by a kid in the hospital, Wednesday says bluntly that all her parents did was have sex. Debbie makes a big deal out of being a virgin, and has a couple of conversations with Fester about it.
When her attempt to murder him on the honeymoon fails, she's forced to spend the night with him. She climbs on top of him in bed, then proceeds to blackmail him -- he cannot see his family if he intends to sleep with her on a regular basis. She uses this "sexual blackmail" on later occasions. The movie will be a little to dark and morbid for many audiences. Those unfamiliar with the sadistic nature of the Addams Family will be shocked by its morose outlook, but fans of the television show will no doubt be pleased.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I'll admit that I never watched the television show. I was more of a `Munsters' kid, and so really the only reason I had a desire to see this movie was because I feel that Joan Cusack deserves to be in like every movie (except `Arlington Road', but I've already expressed myself on that matter). So, I decided to check out the first film before delving into this one, you know, to set myself up. Well, twenty minutes into `The Addams Family' I actually turned it off. It bored me and so I wasn't sure if I was going to even try this one. I read a few reviews, all citing this to be better than the original, and so I said `why not' and rented it.
It's not brilliant, but it sure is funny...and Joan Cusack is a riot!
The film focuses in on a money hungry seductress named Debbie Jellinsky who poses as a nanny in order to get after Uncle Fester and his fortune. Young Wednesday Addams seems to be the only one wise to this woman's evil scheme, so Debbie finds a way to get rid of her. Taking care of Fester is harder than Debbie thought (her plan was to marry and then kill him, but he is not your typical husband) so her plans have to be altered slightly in order to get all that she wants out of the man.
The acting is what makes this movie so watchable, especially between Cusack and the brilliant Christina Ricci, who knows how to make Wednesday so eerily remarkable (and OMG the whole camp Thanksgiving play scene is just brilliant). Really, Anjelica Huston and Raul Julia are obsolete when you consider the great supporting characters here. Christopher Lloyd is every type of hilarious even amidst his every type of cliché as Fester, but it is Cusack who steals the show with her menacing creation.
Also, you won't soon forget the hilarious duo that is Christine Baranski and Peter MacNicol as two camp leaders trying desperately to reform young Wednesday Addams.
The jokes for the most part all seem to land very well, especially at the summer camp (where every scene is a hilarious delight), and the film has a nice flow to it. I was a little shocked and the disinterest the film seemed to have with the two presumable leads, Morticia and Gomez, but there is so much to enjoy about the Wednesday and Debbie storylines that one does not miss the Addams family patriarchs.
So pull up and chair and pop the popcorn because this is a movie you'll find yourself really enjoying. It could have been tweaked here or there but for the most part it is a delight, and I'm sure it is even more refreshing for those who actually watched the show.