Starring: Raul Julia, Angelica Huston, Christopher Lloyd, Dan Hedaya, Christina Ricci, Dana Ivey, and Carel Struycken
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Rating: Nine of Ten Stars
Tully Alford (Hedaya), the corrupt attorney to the Addams Family--a clan eccentrics who are exceptionally creepy, fabulously wealthy, very generous of spirit, and totally ignorant to the fact that they are completely out of step with the world around them--concocts a scheme to defraud the Addams' of their vast fortune with the use of a lookalike of their long-lost Uncle Fester (Lloyd).
There are very few TV series that have been adapted to the Big Screen as successfully as Sonnenfeld did with "The Addams Family".
Perhaps this is because it feels like the movie was made with love for the original series and source material, where others feel like they were extended ads for the show (like the original "X-Files" movie) or made with contempt for the series (such as the "Charlie's Angels" movies).
With "The Addams Family", we don't get any "reimagining" or mockery of the subject matter. Instead, we have the Addams Family in all their naive glory--unintentionally freaking out everyone around them while simply trying to be neighborly and helpful--and we have a cast that seems to take their characters seriously, even while being overtly comical. What's more, the film carries a strong, positive message about "looks can be deceiving" and family values... What's even better, the script-writer and the director are talented enough and confident enough in their own abilities that they don't feel the need to get preachy or to hammer the audience over the head with the movie's message.
The casting of every part in this film is spot-on. Julia and Huston (as Gomez and Morticia Addams) are perfect as a very strange couple who are deeply devoted to each other, their children (Pugsley and Wedneday--the latter portrayed by Ricci in a hysterically funny goth-like fashion), and their extended family. They are equally devoted to their employees, such as the butler Lurch (Struycken), and others, whom they treat as well as they treat their own family.
Of special note is the childlike glee with which Julia portrays Gomez. Some of the movie's funniest--and saddest moments--come from this aspect of Gomez.
The best part of this movie is the way the strangest characters--the Addams Family--turn out to be the most decent characters in the film. Every supposedly respectable person that interacts with the Addamses is lying and deceitful, while the Addamses never attempt to cheat anyone and virtually always speak their minds.
"The Addams Family" is a Halloween movie that I think everyone in a household should be able to get a kick out of. It's a great fusion of horror and comedy, with a strong emphasis on the comedy.
And here's a special musical bonus....