The Addams Family 2 opens in theaters on Friday, Oct 1.
The animated adventures of The Addams Family are back with a sequel that creates a confounding amount of noise, unleashes a plot that doesn’t make sense within the realm of the Addams, and fails to make the iconic kooky family feel notably different from their surrounding world.
Let’s face it, when Cousin It (Snoop Dogg, reprising his 2019 role) is a jet-setting playboy performer who can be a headlining act at any music festival in the country, the Addams family are no longer outliers. They are the machine.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with transitioning The Addams Family into animation. An argument can be made that the two big movie adaptations (of the famous ’60s TV series) from the ’90s — The Addams Family and (the truly great) Addams Family Values — were crafted by director Barry Sonnenfeld to be live-action cartoons in a way. The action was heightened and absurd, but also clever. And though the “normal” world that the Addams lived in was elevated to satirical levels, especially the cheeriness of the sequel’s Camp Chippewa, the Addams clan still felt giddily ghoulish and awesomely “other.”
But The Addams Family 2 makes the central characters feel bland by having them exist in a swirl of over-the-top animated action where they just feel like another spoke in the wheel. When everyone dances to the same pop music (tracks by Snoop Dogg, Megan Thee Stallion, Christina Aguilera, etc.) and gets swept up in the same kinetic craziness, it creates a sameness throughout. In the end, the spare straight-arrow citizens feel like the plagued outcasts in a world that’s been usurped by the Addams’ bonkers vibes.
The top-shelf voice cast from the first film — Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Nick Kroll — is back, with the only notable change being Euphoria’s Javon Walton replacing Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard as Pugsley. They’re still all very fun, particularly Kroll who goes full-tilt frantic as Fester, but the story itself just doesn’t work.
It’s a very cut-and-paste animated sequel plot, as franchise follow-ups very often rely on one of the major characters feeling like they don’t fit in (see: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Shrek 2, Kung Fu Panda 2, etc.). But in the case of The Addams Family, it just doesn’t gel to have one of characters — in this case, Wednesday — feel like they don’t belong in the Addams family.
Ultimately, Wednesday, feeling embarrassed by her family (which is, again, just weird), makes Gomez go all Clark Griswold and demand a family cross-country bonding trip — a sight-seeing tour of America’s spookiest locales (Salem, Sleepy Hollow, Death Valley, you get the point). At the same time, a wealthy scientist, voiced by Bill Hader, sees his opportunity to sow discord within the Addams’ ranks so that he can tap Wednesday’s genius for his own gain. Hader is good here, but it’s very much a role that doesn’t benefit one way or the other from him doing the voice.
There are sentimental parts of The Addams Family 2 that occasionally work, but mostly if you pull them out and place them in an all-together different animated film. Some of the gags are fine too, as The Addams Family, as a franchise, never met a low-hanging pun or joke it didn’t like, but nothing here is clever enough to justify the overall effort. It very much feels like an uninspired excuse to distract kids with a press release-ready soundtrack and fast-moving, physics-bending antics.
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