For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Summer Camp Movies here’s a review of Addams Family Values (1993) By James of Blogging By Cinemalight
Thanks again to Joe of The MN Movie Man for choosing this month’s genre.
Next month’s genre has been chosen by Joel of Joel Watches Movies and we will be reviewing our favorite Movies of the Outdoors (any movie set primarily outside and where nature figures significantly into their plot or themes.)
Please get me your submissions by the 25th of Jul by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Try to think out of the box! Great choice Joel!
Let’s see what James thought of this movie:
Addams Family Values (Barry Sonnenfeld, 1993) As much of a fan as I was of the “Addams” television show—I liked them, far more than the bland television families usually presented—I didn’t even go see Addams Family Values in the theater (I was working—a lot).
Big mistake. Director Barry Sonnenfeld was back, having completed a slightly tamer Michael J. Fox comedy in the interim. Editor Dede Allen was gone. Director of Photography Owen Roizman was replaced by Don Peterman (who’d DP’d Star Trek IV, Splash, and Flashdance) and Ken Adam, legendary Art Director came on-board.
But the most important element was the script…written by Paul Rudnic with what must have been a poison pen from an inkwell filled with snark and maliciousness. It is an extraordinarily funny movie, despite an unpromising premise: the Addams welcome a new child to the family, a boy, Pubert (the original name Charles Addams gave to Pugsley, rejected by the network censors).
This creates enormous tension in the family, as Pugsley and Wednesday exhibit jealousy and make many plans to kill the child, who manages to thwart their every effort. Concerned, Morticia and Gomez hire a series of nannies for the kids, all of whom are frightened away by the children, except for Debbie Jilinsky (Joan Cusack, never funnier), who attracts the attention of Uncle Fester. When the children become suspicious of her behavior, she convinces Gomez and Morticia to send them to Camp Chippewa, run by the extraordinarily wasp-y and perky Gary and Becky Granger (Peter McNichol and Christine Baranski), who make no secret of their disgust with these “weird” children who don’t fit in.
Indoctrination in Addams Family Values
Now, that is truly creepy. And funny. The “Camp Chippewa” segments are the best of the film’s sub-plots, indicating that if someone wants to do another film with the Addamses they need to 1) get them out of the house and 2) hire Rudnick (This iteration’s Gomez, Raul Julia, sadly, passed away a year after Addams Family Values was released). But, the entire film has more zest, more life (or what passes for it, given the subjects) and genuinely twisted humor than the original exhumation. It’s always a pleasure to run into on the tube, no matter at which point one comes in.