I’m a bit of an old soul. When I was a kid, I watched a lot of television shows or movies that originally aired before I was born. Heck, my mom was barely born for some of them.
One of them was “The Addams Family.” The sitcom ran from 1964-1966. It only lasted for a couple of seasons, but it left an impact on American culture, especially with its theme song which was a collaboration of “da da da duhs” and snaps. The show was based on a comic strip by Charles Addams that focused on a rather unusual family.
The family was also featured in movies, animated cartoons, a Broadway play and more. The family was always a bit odd. Yes, they were gothically challenged, but they were always put in situations that made them stand out even more. The family was written as the odd man out in a modern world, but they often ended up being the most down-to-earth of all.
Growing up, I loved the Addams family. I watched the 1960s sitcom on old VHS tapes we got from the Columbia House subscription service. I saw both ’90s movies in theaters, and I’m pretty certain I watched the short-lived animated series in the early ’90s. I was definitely a fan.
Unfortunately, the trailer for the 2019 film looked awful. Its style was very true to Addams’ original comic strips, and the appearance of the characters is definitely based on those early comics. However, the trailers made the family look hokey and kind of lame. I was pretty certain I couldn’t make myself go see it.
And, then it was my best option for a movie, so I found myself sitting at Foothills 12 on Sunday afternoon waiting for the show to start.
The film stars Oscar Isaac and Charlize Theron as Gomez and Morticia Addams, respectively. The film opens with their wedding and allows the audience a glimpse at a young couple in love, trying to find their place in the world. They just want a world where the world will accept them instead of running at them with pitchforks, and there’s only one place they can go: New Jersey.
The couple builds a home in an abandoned asylum with Lurch (voiced by the film’s director Conrad Vernon), an escaped patient from the asylum becoming their butler. The asylum is haunted, covered in spiderwebs and has an extreme number of creepy crawlies running around. In other words, it’s perfect.
Thirteen years later, there are two Addams children: Wednesday (Chloe Grace Moretz) and Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard), and the latter is getting ready to become a man through an old family ritual involving a saber.
Wednesday is growing up, too, but her growth doesn’t involve sharp objects but rather pink barrettes and conformity. She’s spent so long being sheltered from the outside world that she finds herself curious. When a young “normal” girl, Parker (Elsie Fisher), finds herself rebelling against her normal life of junior high and blonde bullies, the two find a kindred spirit in the other.
In many ways, the Addams family is living an idyllic life. All of that changes when Margaux Needler, a reality TV show host who also happens to be Parker’s mother, enters the fray. Margaux, voiced by Allison Janney, has built a planned community, aptly called Assimilation, that is in a valley near the Addams’ mansion. So, it puts a wrench in her plan.
Margaux is possibly the scariest person in this movie, and that includes the Addams and their extended family. She’s the answer to the question that nobody was asking: What happens when you cross a Barbie and somebody from Whoville? In other words, she’s completely over-the-top, ridiculously cheery and fake.
Margaux and her subplot is a stroke of genius. It allows the creators to do a modern spin, while still being true to the classic show’s ethos. It also captures the fun I had watching the show, even down to recreating its opening in the end credits. All of that being said, this isn’t a film only for children or old-school fans. There’s something here for everyone. It’s a clever, funny movie with a message about family, even the quirky ones who we want to belittle or make fun of. Too bad that they, like the Addams, might be doing far better than others.