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Addams Family Values (1993)
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld Written by Paul Rudnick
We begin with a howl towards the moon as the children gather with grand mama to bid farewell to their almost dead feline. What would otherwise be a normal night for the Addams’ is quickly interrupted by their next spawn soon to grace them with its presence, which was insinuated at the end of the first film. The complete birthing scene being utterly ridicules as the humor is this film was filled more with the families “crazy antics” as a means to no doubt, show the family in some other kind of light than already knowing them for. They bring young Pubert (who was played by twin girls) home and get him settled into his room (which was morbidly awesome) as Wednesday discusses with Pugsley the possibility of one of them having to die now, being a family tradition, and not needing two boys.
The family decides to speak with the children concerning their new addition. Fester explaining that it was simply sibling rivalry to their parents and that the bit about having to kill off a child not being the case, anymore. Games continue with the little as Gomez finds himself missing the old Tish and deciding to hire a nanny. Small cameo of Cynthia Nixon as the hippy babysitter with the best interview being between the English maid and her puppet forcing Wednesday to bring out her devil puppet. They end up settling on Debbie Jellinsky, (Joan Cusack) who would appear to have caught the eye of Fester upon first sight and oddly enough, on board with the everyday craze going on daily. As work continues, her insatiable and obvious loathing for the children causes Wednesday to confront the nanny and ask who she really was. Debbie thinking on her toes and going to the parents to state how the children had wanted to attend Camp Chippewa for the summer and to not even mention it, just surprise them…her interest laying solely with getting to know their Uncle Fester.
Upon arriving at camp, are introduced to Amanda Buckman (Mercedes McNab/girl scout from the first film) who asks why the family was dressed “that way”; what a nice way to say hello. Camp counselors Becky (Christine Baranski) and Gary Granger (Peter MacNicol) make introductions as the Addams children would probably prefer the seventh ring of hell than to be surrounded by what currently viewing around camp. The only other lost cause being Joel (David Krumholtz) who instantly feels cupids arrow when setting eyes on the Addams girl. Activities around camp begin as the outsiders find themselves banished to the Harmony Hut for refusing to group hug (don’t blame them) with their only break coming due to Uncle Fester’s wedding.Which couldn’t be helped for the deranged nanny had otherwise taken over his life at the moment. Having made a friendship with Joel, he’s invited to the wedding and once getting back, are forced to join in on the festivities. They soon receive a final letter from their Uncle who states would be forced to say goodbye, Debbie taking advantage of reigning over a man who had been put under some sexual spell. Practice following for the camps play with Amanda cast as the lead, Sarah Miller with gloomy Wednesday chosen for Pocahontas. Her attitude being more than enough for the camp counselors whose final attempt involves movies in the Harmony Hut that they know will do the trick. Once exiting, Wednesday tells them what they needed to hear, lastly scaring them with her smile which looked painful more than anything. We see the ridicules play and how Wednesday had changed it behind the counselors backs to better suit what actual happened with our first thanksgiving. They’re able to make their escape in time and head home for the events soon unfolding when yet another attempt to kill Fester is foiled by his unwillingness to die. Debbie forced back to the house to tie the family to electric chairs and make them sit through a painful slide show about how she was basically, a spoiled brat and didn’t like not getting her way (I’ve known one or two of those). She actually tries to get sympathy for her behavior and would seem almost only understood by the Addams. The baby meanwhile is able to break free and save the day by reversing the electrocuting process and turning Debbie into a pile of dust. Picking up “some time later” celebrating the baby’s birthday and cousin It arriving with a new nanny, one more fitting for the Uncle and the two immediately hitting it off. The ending shot being between Joel and Wednesday in the graveyard with Joel saying the death of Debbie was a loss no matter what way looked at. Wednesday getting the last scare as a very “Carrie” moment occurs and Joel is scared…possibly to death.
I actually decided to carry the perspective through the children’s story when in fact it wasconstantly going back and forth between the somewhat, three simultaneous stories. However I thought Joan Cusack was amazing in this role since it’s rare that I get to see her like this. She fit in perfectly with the family and she blew it, most literally. Looking so different as well, so pristine but able to maintain the image of the “unfortunate” spoiled brat. We did get a scene in which she and Fester, along with Morticia and Gomez go on a double date. Christopher Lloyd’s depiction of the bald Uncle being just as great in this second installment. Once they do get married, she makes him dress in an absurd looking suit (for him at least) complete with a questionable wig in order to be okay with being stuck with him. When she gives him his birthday present (which you can hear ticking) Fester guesses right and Joan’s facial reactions were just as funny as her quick outburst of yelling. It’s also where we get the cameo of Tony Shalhoub, one of the ones singing and flirting endlessly with Debbie at teh bar she attends. Pulling up to the house to make sure the bomb went off…giving herself away quite easily. But he ends up walking away with dinner still in his hands. So then would electrocution really make a difference, doesn’t seem like anything else can. We also get a cameo by Nathan Lane as an officer which one can appreciate more after knowing he went on to play Gomez on Broadway in 2010. I did almost go and see his performance but thought my second favorite Actor of all time (Christopher Walker) was a much better choice; besides Lane is still relatively younger so he has time. Any who; the sequel didn’t maintain the same feel the family had the first time around but by no means is something that should be overlooked as not on par with what you may expect. The character of Wednesday was given a substantial amount of better lines, the camp scenes working so well because of the camp counselors interactions with the children. If your one that tends to over think in films then you could just the same argue the sequel being a rewashed formula as the first, with different scenarios taking place. Though it does make for a great double feature and way to end this month. **Everyone be safe tonight and Happy Halloween!** =)