The Addams Family (1991)

Comedy, Fantasy
Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd, Dan Hedaya
Con artists plan to fleece the eccentric family using an accomplice who claims to be their long lost Uncle Fester.
The movie is peppered with amusing sight gags and one-liners, but the disjointed script doesn't cohere into a successful whole.
  • Paramount Pictures Company:
  • PG-13 Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 22 Nov 1991 Released:
  • 22 Feb 2000 DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • Charles Addams, Caroline Thompson Writer:
  • Barry Sonnenfeld Director:
  • N/A Website:

Trailer:

Not brilliant but consistently amusing, well performed and solid enough to stand as its own beast5/10
The Addams family are far from being normal but they are rich and as such are their attorney's only chance of getting rich. Tully has debts up the yazoo and the only thing that stops his knees being violently replaced with fresh air is the fact that Abigail Craven's son Gordon looks eerily like Gomez's missing brother Fester. Shaving his head, Gordon enters the Addams home as Fester and tries to use his spare time to get into the family vault. However Gomez's joy at his return is gradually marred by a sneaking feeling that Fester is not himself – meanwhile Wednesday has no such doubts at all and is out to expose the impostor.

One of the few remakes that actually works, The Addams Family takes the Gothic humour of the TV series and makes it feel fresh and entertaining. The story is essentially a nail for us to hang our coats on so we can watch the gags come but even with this it is actually pretty good. Making one of the family a "new character" is a clever way of adding to the formula without having to bring in new characters to lead the film and it does work. Within this frame the twisted comedy is rather entertaining and, although rarely laugh out loud funny, it is still consistently amusing and enjoyable.

The cast are roundly good. Julia is a perfect Gomez and Huston is a great Morticia despite the latter being a fairly one-note affair. Lloyd is enjoyable in the lead and manages to do well to carry the "new character" aspect of Fester without disrupting the dynamic of the family. Ricci is excellent and the only downside is that the film doesn't give her enough to do; Workman is also good and has good chemistry with her. Hedaya, Wilson, Ivey and others are strong in support and generally do well to shore up the story.

Overall a kooky affair that is enjoyable in you are in the mood for its particular brand of dark silliness. The plot is more than enough to act as a frame, the jokes maybe don't hit many real highs but they do consistently get very close to the target and the fact that the actors all buy into the joke makes it that little bit better. An enjoyable remake that succeeds because it has the strength to stand as its own beast.
An amusing film from the popular TV series "The Addams Family"8/10
"The Adams Family" is a very funny film that is very under rated. With a great all star cast you get just what you expect, a great comedy. The TV show was already funny enough, and then the movie came and I was on the floor laughing. It's fun to see a happy dysfunctional family. No, I'm not talking about "The Osbornes". All the characters are great and you really get into it. If you can tell me that you honestly did not get one laugh from this film, there is something very wrong with you. Because it is a very funny film. I would recommend this to anyone. It's a good watch on any day.

8/10
They're funny and they're zany...10/10
So here it is: a feature look into the lives of the ghoulish family that bears the name of their creator. In this case, Morticia (Anjelica Huston) and Gomez (Raul Julia) are raising their family, when long lost Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd) rejoins the family. But there may be other people who want the Addams' house.

Most people don't seem to realize that "The Addams Family" actually had some social commentary: everyone outside the Addams house considers them weird because they live differently, but they're actually a very loving family. As it was, "The Addams Family" was always better than "The Munsters" (cleverer and not as silly). But anyway, this is the feature, and it's one of the few TV-to-movie adaptations that got it right.
Gothic Kookiness8/10
Charles Addams' dark characters get the film treatment in Barry Sonnenfeld's THE ADDAMS FAMILY, which is something of a cross between the actual New Yorker comics and the 1960s television show. Not trying to lean too far to either, the movie stays at a safe plane, even incorporating a vague plot involving two grifters, Gordon and Abigail Craven, posing as Uncle Fester and a renowned psychiatrist (Christopher Lloyd and Elizabeth Wilson) who are in cahoots to rob the Addams of their fortune and house. The problem arises when Craven seems to go against his take-the-money-and-run attitude and when the Addams themselves appear to enjoy every minute that they're being taken advantage of. It suits the dark humor well, because since the Addams live in an alternative universe of their own creation in which dark is light, repugnant is beautiful, pain equals pleasure, death is life, and chaos equals order, it leaves the door open for many of their Gothic eccentricities to pull the rug over Lloyd and Wilson over and over again. It's clever, although its only problem is the "needing to introduce the characters we all know" setup which like in all movies based on comics or television shows, looks obvious.

But despite this, everyone is uniformly excellent. Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston lend their looks to embody their cartoon counterparts and are the romantics at the heart of this decidedly perverse story. Christopher Lloyd is also great in his representation of Uncle Fester. But hands down: the one who walks away with the entire movie is Christina Ricci who plays Wednesday as if she were living the role day by day. There's a sadistic gleam in her eyes and her voice that not many child actors have and I think that any other actor of the time that this film was made would have been unable to fit into this difficult part. Other than that, the tone of the movie is perfect: as dark as it wants to be, but never letting its Gothic setting drown it in an inescapable mire. On the contrary, we're constantly aware that this is a typical American family who lives upside down and who are happy in being so even when we gawk and cringe at their oddities.
Stunning performances all round10/10

The Addams Family are one of the more recognisable families in TV history. With that in mind, let's skip the introductions and get straight to the chase.

The performances in this movie are superb. It's a black, black comedy, and as such, it requires a certain kind of actor. The kind who has the right look, the perfect comedic timing, and the ability to deliver lines so deadpan it almost hurts.

Raul Julia, Anjelica Huston, and a young Christina Ricci somehow ALL manage to deliver. They're truly a delight to watch, delivering the most macabre lines without even coming close to cracking a smile, yet having me in stitches every time. Even Christopher Lloyd, playing a far more energetic character, manages to bring in a maniacal edge to the performance. I don't think there's an actor in the movie who doesn't understand the role they play.

The script is great material for them to work with too, extremely witty, rarely if ever falling on it's face, and complemented with some fantastic sets. And let's not forget the music. From the legendary theme tune, to the harpsichord jingles accompanying the visual gags, to the booming organs during the heavier moments, it's spot-on. The whole movie works as one to capture *THE* Addams atmosphere, macabre as it's ever been.

Sure, there's a plot too, but while it drives the movie on, you'd watch this movie for the wonderful theme, not for an intriguing plotline.

It's a classic, and you're doing yourself a disservice if you haven't seen it, or if you think you're too sensible for this kind of movie.