Star Rating:

The Addams Family 2

Directors: Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon

Actors: Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloe Grace Moretz

Release Date: Friday 8th October 2021

Genre(s): Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family

Running time: 92 minutes

Wednesday Addams (Chloe Moretz) begins to question her family connection, which drives her parents Gomez (Oscar Isaac) and Morticia (Charlize Theron) to go on a road trip to keep their family together while a tech CEO (Bill Hader) tries to make contact with Wednesday, who believes her to be his long-lost daughter...

The Addams Family has always occupied a strange place in pop culture generally.

They're creepy and they're kooky, yes, but they're also a model family. Gomez and Morticia Addams are desperately in love with one another, and both Wednesday and Pugsley are happy - in their own way - children. Fester, Gomez's brother, lives a carefree lifestyle but is always close to home. They're even respectful of household staff, what with Lurch working for them for years.

Barry Sonnenfeld's excellent live-action movies in the '90s played off this idea, and with wonderful performances by Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd and the great Joan Cusack, they really have shaped people's ideas on the Addams Family. Of course, they've been around for years and have had numerous animated spin-offs in the past. Fun fact - the '70s animated series had none other than future-Oscar winner Jodie Foster in its cast, voicing Pugsley Addams. Anyway, 2019's animated spinoff assembled a fantastic cast of actors to breathe life into the musty franchise, with the likes of Oscar Isaac and Charlize Theron taking on the roles of Gomez and Morticia, as well as Martin Short playing Morticia's father and Bette Midler playing Grandma Addams. The animation style was glossy, yes, and it's the same here again with Conrad Vernon and Dublin-born Greg Tiernan returning to direct, but like the previous entry, it feels just far too sweet and shiny.

'The Addams Family 2' sees them out on the road in their Creepy Camper, crossing the US and making plenty of timely jokes about social distancing, Billie Eilish, hand sanitisers, and even dressing Wednesday Addams like Elizabeth Holmes at one point. It's all good fun, and you can't really hold it against any of the cast for taking part, but there's nothing remotely subversive about any of it. What made the '90s live-action movies so much fun, and why they remain so popular, is just how brazenly they tried to push up against the kind of saccharine sentimentality that this very movie proffers. In fact, you could very easily imagine this movie being added to the list of feel-good movies Wednesday Addams is forced to watch at Camp Chippewa.

The jokes fire off at every possible opportunity in 'The Addams Family 2', and some of the visual gags - Wednesday Addams in Elizabeth Holmes cosplay, for crying out loud - are funny enough, but it never has anything unique to say, or even anything remotely out of the ordinary. There's so much of 'The Addams Family 2' that is almost unnecessary, and even an extended sequence with Lurch playing a disco floor filler feels like it's padding out its 90-odd minute running time. For children, sure, there might be something here to keep them occupied and you might even chuckle at one or two of the jokes, but this isn't up to what it could be and given the richness of the source material, it falls shorter than Cousin Itt.