Monday, October 4, 2021

The Addams Family 2

Last night at the local movie theater, I had a choice between this sequel to a movie I saw and enjoyed (sorry, I seem to have neglected to review it here); the sequel to a movie I didn't see and most likely wouldn't enjoy (Venom) and, urk, Dear Evan Hansen again, about which the only good thing I've heard said is that the music is great (but then, I've also heard that it isn't, and the one snippet of music included in the trailer sounded pretty Autotuney). So, obviously, I went to see the above title. And it was fine, sometimes even fun.

The Addamses take a cross country road trip because family patriarch Gomez is worried that he's missing an opportunity to connect with his cool, standoffish daughter, Wednesday. They take off in a cross between a nightmare mansion and an RV, while Uncle Fester slowly transforms into a giant octopus (don't ask), Pugsley struggles to figure out how to impress girls, and a shyster lawyer pursues them, claiming that Wednesday was switched at birth with somebody else's daughter. The shyster's client turns out to be a mad scientist, which of course doesn't rule out the possibility that he really is Wednesday's father, but the togetherness of the whole Addams family is now on the line and they all have to pitch in, in their bizarre, macabre way, to save it.

Some of the dialogue is brilliant; some isn't. Most of the gags work; some don't. It does break out into territory I don't remember the Addams family exploring before, and I think it mostly pays off. It's ghoulishly funny, with Wednesday's peculiar brand of deadpan irony being a consistent highlight. It has serious vocal talent behind the cartoon faces, too. Chloƫ Grace Moretz plays her, supported by Oscar Isaac and Charlize Theron as Gomez and Morticia, Nick Kroll (Prof. Poopypants in Captain Underpants) as Fester, Bette Midler as Grandmamma, Conrad Vernon (the Gingerbread Man in the Shrek movies) as Lurch, Snoop Dogg as Cousin Itt, Wallace Shawn (Vizzini in The Princess Bride) as the lawyer, and Bill Hader (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) as the mad scientist.

Unfortunately, at least two of the Three Scenes That Made It For Me were all ones I remembered from the trailer: (1) Lurch launching into a rendition of "I Will Survive" in an outlaw biker bar, (2) Wednesday using her voodoo doll to force Pugsley to throw himself over Niagara falls, and (3) Wednesday's Carrie-style revenge on the other contestants in the cowgirl beauty pageant she is forced to participate in.

A bonus Moment That Made It For Me: I just want to give a shout-out to the local theater that gave me a free, small pack of peanut butter M&Ms, a cup of Diet Pepsi and a seat in the "cry room" above the projection booth when a piece of popcorn got stuck in my throat and I had to flee the theater out of consideration for the other patrons. The sticky candy and the bubbly drink did help relieve the irritation in my throat, and the view from above was an interesting perspective from which to watch the film.

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