Addams Family Values

This superior sequel — ­­ great title, by the way — ­­ has three plots to make up for the original movie’s absence of plot. Unfortunately, that means less screen time for Gomez (Raul Julia) and Morticia (Anjelica Huston), but who cares when you have Pugsley (Jimmy Workman) and Wednesday (Christina Ricci) going off to summer camp! Their adventures with hyper counselors Peter MacNicol and Christine Baranski are priceless, culminating in a paroxysm of fire and random brutality that reduced me to helpless laughter. (Credit MacNicol with the idea for the roasting spit.) Joan Cusack, in a gleefully bent performance, is a murderous gold-digger who comes to take care of the Addamses’ new baby Pubert and sets her sights on poor Fester (Christopher Lloyd). Barry Sonnenfeld did right by this series (which was sadly cut short by the untimely passing of Raul Julia in 1994), though it’s fun to imagine what John Waters might have done with it; the series definitely expresses Waters’ embrace of misfits and mistrust of “normal” people. Followed in 1998 by a TV movie (Addams Family Reunion) with a different cast (Tim Curry and Daryl Hannah stepped in as Gomez and Morticia). With Carol Kane (in for Judith Malina), Carel Struycken, Christopher Hart, Dana Ivey, Nathan Lane, Tony Shalhoub, Peter Graves, David Hyde Pierce, and Charles Busch. Sonnenfeld’s next was Get Shorty.

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