Thursday, April 2, 2009

Addams Family Values

Uncle Fester is howling at the moon, the kids are burying cats in the backyard and Gomez is arm wrestling with a severed hand. Just another evening at the Addams' house. Then Morticia announces that she's having a baby. Literally - at that moment.

This is as close as Addams Family Values gets to a plot. The hurried sequel to 1991's monster hit shares all of the original's strengths and weaknesses. The movie has its moments, but there's not much connecting any of the scenes or jokes.

Okay. There's a bit more to the plot. When the children, Pugsley and Wednesday, try to bump off their new baby brother, the family decides that it's time to hire a nanny. Appropriately, the new nanny (Joan Cusack)is a serial killer who marries, then murders, wealthy men. She targets Uncle Fester as her next victim and sets out to deftly win his heart. But she quickly discovers that you can't easily kill an Addams - Fester thinks the murder attempts are just displays of her love.

Some of the flick's best jokes are saved for the kids, when they're sent to summer camp, where they're surrounded by the next generation of the WASP elite and forced to watch videos of The Brady Bunch. You can't wait for the two little ghouls to threaten the entire place with mass scalping. While at camp, Wednesday finds her soul mate, in the form of a pint-sized Woody Allen look-alike.

Addams Family Values is occasionally funny. But it's all punchlines with no build up. It plays like the highlights to another movie.

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