CAST: Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Kroll, Javon Walton, Bette Midler, Conrad Vernon, Snoop Dogg, Bill Hader, Wallace Shawn
RUNNING TIME: 93 mins
BASICALLY…: The Addams family head on a miserable trip together across America…
NOW FOR THE REVIEW…
Misery is often associated with The Addams Family, but usually in a humorous sense as their creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky personalities always cause dismay for everyone else around them. However, in the case of The Addams Family 2 – the sequel to the 2019 animated reboot – there is misery in bucketloads, because watching is a pretty miserable experience.
You can tell that this sequel was rushed into production very quickly after its predecessor’s box office success, because it opts for that most unimaginative of family sequel plots: the family vacation. This comes about when the Addams patriarch Gomez (Oscar Isaac) and his wife Morticia (Charlize Theron) decide that their children Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) and Pugsley (Javon Walton, replacing Finn Wolfhard) are not spending enough time together as a family, and so they along with Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll) and their butler Lurch (voiced in mostly grunts by co-director Conrad Vernon) all set off on the road across America to see the sights and bond once more. However, that isn’t enough material for this already-thin movie, so a sub-plot involving Wednesday possibly not being an actual Addams – and instead being the daughter of scientist Cyrus Strange (Bill Hader) who may or may not be the villain of the movie – takes strong precedence, interjected in between scenes where, of course, chaos follows wherever the Addams clan go.
There is so much that could be done with the Addams family going on holiday that it’s even more annoying that the film takes extremely little advantage of it. How fun would it be to see that little psycho Wednesday try to add her face to Mount Rushmore, or seeing the ever-amorous Gomez and Morticia dance with each other in a Nashville country bar? Keep imagining, because the most that The Addams Family 2 has to offer is visiting a Texas beauty pageant, and blowing up the Grand Canyon (which really isn’t as entertaining as it sounds). This movie has such little energy and a total lack of imagination that it relies entirely on gags which are made up of eye-rolling puns, pandering topical points (a character mentions social distancing at one point), and tired toilet humour, all of which undermines the genuine appeal of The Addams Family for the sake of talking down to a mostly young audience. Even the first animated Addams Family movie, which wasn’t that great to begin with, took a lot more time and effort to establish why these characters have lasted from one iteration after another, whereas here they are merely vessels for which to simply perform stale jokes and fart noises, something which I am certain will not sit well with dedicated fans of the franchise.
Beyond the juvenile humour, it’s just a lazily written movie in general. Most of the characters stick to their singular note and don’t even attempt to give themselves an extra dimension, which for a sequel you’d want to at least have the option of exploring with these people, but the script utterly lets them – and by extension, their rather well-chosen voice actors, including Oscar Isaac and Charlize Theron as an ideal Gomez and Morticia respectively – down with its thin characterisation and unambitious plotting. Unsurprisingly, the screenplay is credited to four different writers, which explains the lack of focus that surely must have stemmed from being passed between these people; a sub-plot which sees Uncle Fester start to turn into an octopus is introduced, then forgotten about, then reintroduced, then brought back and so on, while there is a random set-piece where a character sings Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” in a tough biker bar which just screams like it was added on to stretch the movie towards a 90-minute runtime. Even the final climax feels like something which was born out of miscommunication between the writers, because it goes to such lengths in order to set up certain things like a potential rivalry between Lurch and the villain’s equally-hulking henchman, but is resolved within seconds and makes almost zero impact on the overall story (admittedly, it is supposed to be played for laughs, but the movie is already pretty bad with its humour that even an intentionally anti-climactic showdown can’t raise a chuckle).
Mostly, though, it is just boring to watch. The animation is exceptionally bland, failing to inject any life into its designs for characters, sets, props and vehicles, which is miles apart from the gothic tones that other versions of The Addams Family easily perfected, replaced here by uninteresting depictions of Niagara Falls and San Francisco. As with the first movie, it’s also a rather ugly style that it’s opted for, since outside of the Addams members themselves who are pretty close to their original comic strip designs, everyone else looks like marionette puppets with thin arms and legs as well as caricaturised faces which more often than not aren’t that pleasing to look at. Again, there are so many opportunities that could be brought from not just having The Addams Family in animated form, but also going on holiday across several recognisable places in the United States, so it’s astonishing that this movie flat-out refuses to engage with either of those things.
Hopefully this signals an end to this overwhelmingly bland and unfunny era for The Addams Family, because if Tim Burton’s upcoming Netflix series Wednesday continues this trend, then we’re in for an altogether ooky future.
SO, TO SUM UP…
The Addams Family 2 is a miserably bland animated sequel that does nothing with the concept nor its characters, instead settling for unfunny humour and an unpleasant visual style that lacks the fun and imagination of the beloved franchise.