The Addams Family 2 Synopsis: In an effort to get closer as a family, Gomez (Oscar Isaac), Morticia (Charlize Theron), and the rest of the Addams clan embark on an adventurous road trip in a hideous and humongous camper.
Critics bemoan the needless revival of decayed IPs – with most repackaging their brand’s appeal to craft a commercial and easily consumable product. The general uneasiness is part of what made 2019’s The Addams Family a pleasant surprise. While I may be in the minority (the film holds a meager 45% rating on Rotten Tomatoes), the amiable family-friendly effort found a pulse in its humorous juxtaposition between the Addams’ wicked persona and the conformity of mainstream society.
Audiences showed up for the creepy and kooky reboot (amassed 200 million worldwide on an economical 24 million budget), which leaves us with The Addams Family 2. My apprehensions going into the 2019 original are ever-present with this autopilot, direct-to-streaming level sequel. While the same creative team is back, the original’s playful charm feels noticeably absent.
Even this lesser version still presents some of the original’s strengths. Experienced animation directors Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan find their groove when embracing ghoulishly visceral gags. From a tongue-in-cheek homage to Carrie’s blood-soaked prom to Wednesday Addams bone-twisting pranks on her brother, there are glimmers where the film tunes in to the properties’ clever embrace of the macabre. The star-studded voice cast also imbues lively spunk into their roles. Oscar Isaac and Charlize Theron share a warm rapport as Gomez and Morticia, while Nick Kroll remains a scene-stealer as the bumbling Uncle Fester.
Where the original presented a fresh new angle for the Addams clan, this sequel exists merely to generate profits. Screenwriter duo Benji Samit and Dan Hernandez empty the bucket of contrived family film devices – dragging audiences along a tired road trip narrative littered with melodramatic plot beats. Wednesday’s questioning of her family ties serves as the narrative’s only driving force, and even those scenes can be telegraphed from a mile away. The rest of the barely feature-length 93-minute runtime (a flat musical number and the credits make up the final 10-15 minutes) feels like a scattershot series of gags that largely fail to connect.
The Addams Family 2 ends up feeling too disconnected from its beloved source material. Similar to far too many modern family films, much of the experience sledgehammers awkward pop culture songs and references without any creative spark. The creative team creates a fast and furious experience full of colorfully loud gags. That busy energy feels like the complete anthesis of what the Addams Family represents, with the morbidly clever moments being too few and far between to convey the source material’s spirit.
The Addams Family 2 will likely please energetic younger viewers, but adults and fans of the source material will spend most of the runtime checking their watch.
The Addams Family 2 is now playing in theaters and on VOD.
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