There have been several adaptations of the original cartoon created by Charles Addams in 1938. One of the best known, of course, is the TV show featuring John Astin. However, the big screen eventually called as well and The Addams Family arrives, creepy and kooky.
Admittingly, the sequel to this film, Addams Family Values, is considered a better overall film, this 1991 film version had plenty of positives going for it, starting off with a strong cast. Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston were perfectly cast as the head of the family, Gomez and Morticia Addams. Christopher Lloyd was cast as Gomez’s estranged brother Fester. Christina Ricci, a star in the making, stole the show as the psychotic Wednesday Addams.
There were some wonderfully dark and gloriously funny moments throughout the film as Gomez and his “brother” Fester were reunited after a desperate fight from their youth. However, Fester was not what he appeared, as the audience was aware. He was the son of Abigail Craven (Elizabeth Wilson), and he just happened to look exactly like Fester. They plotted, along with Gomez’s family lawyer Tully (Dan Hedaya), to have Fester pretend to have returned in order to get their hands on the Addams family treasure.
This led to a series of very funny bits. However, most of the best comedic moments were stand alone moments or side scenes. For example, Wednesday is electrocuting her brother Pusgley (Jimmy Workman), the tour of the Addams graveyard or Thing getting a job.
The problem with the film, which does make it lesser than Addams Family Values, is that the story itself it disjointed and does not blend well together. The coincidental aspect of the film, especially the resolution of the story, is hard to buy. Overall the plot feels as if it could require some tightening.
However, the cast and their performances are great and the humor really works most of the time that The Addams Family is a fun watch that does hold up over the years. The effects for the time are fine and being funny helps to cover any holes that might be in the plot. The sequel is better, but this is a solid start.