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Directors: Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon
Writers: Dan Hernandez and Benji Samit, with screenplay credits for Ben Queen and Susanna Fogel
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Kroll, Javon Walton, Bette Midler, Conrad Vernon, Snoop Dogg, Bill Hader, and Wallace Shawn
In theatres from 7 October (Malaysia), 11 November (Singapore), 8 December (Philippines)
2 out of 5 stars
Do you want to see a half-naked Uncle Fester? Neither do I, but that's what The Addams Family 2 repeatedly shows us (his clothes come off for a science experiment, when he turns into another creature, and various other scenes) in the film. It's apparent that the writers thought that this was funny — and that's the type of humour that you can expect for the rest of this children's film.
The Addams Family 2 is a 3D-animated comedy that's a sequel to 2019's The Addams Family. The film revolves around the Gothic Addams family as they embark on a road trip for some family bonding. In the meantime, Wednesday wrestles with issues of identity while a mysterious foe pesters them.
If you like Wednesday Addams, then you'll like this movie. It's all about her, as she tries to find out the truth of who she is. She's fleshed out a lot more than in other films — did you know she had a scientific streak? Given that the Addams are more supernatural than scientific, it is an interesting piece of characterisation that ties into the plot. But as you can see, giving such a piece of characterisation to an Addams Family character already feels a little problematic — science and the supernatural don't quite mesh. Wouldn't Wednesday be able to find some sort of spell or artefact that can perform the same functions as her scientific equipment?
But if this were any other film, the whole thing might still be coherent. Decent, even. If the characters were brand new ones or it was a generic family, then the story would have made sense. But it's not. It's the Addams Family. And like it or not, that family has a legacy and expectations to fulfil — none of which the film does well. Only the opening and closing portions of the film feel like an Addams Family movie, with weird things happening in the house and the family getting together to do macabre things (which is normal for the Addams Family).
That leads to the second biggest issue (the biggest being its level of humour) with The Addams Family 2 – that it doesn't feel like an Addams Family movie at all. A quick glance at the premise reveals that the family goes on a road trip — but how creepy and kooky can you be while on a road trip? How do you fit a mysterious and spooky tone on a trip where a family visits the Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon, and Miami beach? It feels like a generic family road trip comedy script was written and then the Addams Family was thrown in after the fact, which accounts for a tonal dissonance between the characters and the plot.
But of course, the biggest issue is with the humour. Even if we were to discount half-naked Uncle Fester –since repeatedly seeing an obese grey corpse with large nipples is somewhat grotesque, as befits the Addams Family – the rest of the physical humour is left wanting. Being a children's film, it's understandable that there's more slapstick, but the point is that the jokes are not funny. Period. There's nothing particularly hilarious about seeing Pugsley blow up the Grand Canyon in a grand display of pyrotechnics, but the film behaves like it's a wonderful punchline that'll knock your socks off.
Then there are the antagonists of the film. Regardless of what version of the Addams Family you've seen, it's clear that non-supernatural threats are hardly an issue for them. Yet in this film, they go to great lengths to evade a tiny human and his Lurch-sized companion (remember, the family's also got Lurch with them) — to the extent of hiding in barrels and throwing themselves off waterfalls. It baffles the mind. They face a more worthy threat in the finale, but it feels odd that they've got deranged creatures in their house yet they run from mere humans.
The Addams Family 2 is an Addams Family film mostly in name. File off the names, and this story could easily fit in one of any hundreds of cartoon franchises, with the exception that it's not funny. It tries to give deeper characterisation to an interesting character, but overall, the Addams Family could have done without this movie.
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