“The Addams Family” has become a cultural touchstone as the tight-knit clan with a good-naturedly morbid sensibility has been portrayed over the past 70 years in everything from television to movies to even the Broadway stage.
But it all began in 1938, with nothing more than pen, ink, and the mind of cartoonist Charles Addams.
In the most recent incarnation of “The Addams Family,” the big-screen animated version gets back to its roots by incorporating the look of Addams’ original cartoons while snagging some other iconic touches from throughout the years along the way.
The result isn’t particularly inspired or revolutionary, but it does get to the core of what has made this family so beloved and mostly delivers the creepy and kooky goods.
We do get a bit of an Addams origin story here as newlyweds Gomez (Oscar Isaac) and Morticia (Charlize Theron) settle in the wilds of New Jersey in an old insane asylum and employ former resident and Frankenstein stand-in Lurch as their butler.
There, they raise their family. which includes their smart, but emotionless daughter Wednesday (Chloe Grace Moretz) and their explosives-obsessed son Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard).
Of course, extended family drops by, like weirdo Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll) and bewitching Grandma (Bette Midler).
The tension and the laughs in “The Addams Family” typically come from the family’s interactions with freaked-out “normal” people. That is again the case as a piece of cookie-cutter suburbia is built down the hill from the Addams home and the local citizenry, led by neighborhood planner Margaux Needler (Allison Janney) want to get rid of the Addams and all their non-conformity.
All-in-all, this Addams Family is pretty tame, as the filmmakers play the whole thing straight up without much in the way of imagination or boundary-pushing. It’s nice to have the Addams back in our lives, but it would have been nice if they could have been a little more “ookie.”
“The Addams Family” is rated PG for macabre and suggestive humor and some action.