Addams Family Reunion (1998) — Kookie and ookie, to a much lesser extent

“Too much flesh. Not enough blood.”

Justin’s rating: This is one decaying family tree

Justin’s review: For my money, the early ’90s Addams movies — The Addams Family and Addams Family Values — are some of the best sitcom adaptations that the decade produced. They were darkly hilarious, wonderfully cast, and a boon to the franchise as a whole. I would’ve loved to have seen a third movie with that cast, but alas, Raul Julia passed away in 1994 and the director and most of the cast weren’t on board with the idea of another run.

Yet while the Addams Family as a franchise would continue through an animated movie series and an attempt at creating a “new” sitcom, the Barry Sonnenfield duology did get a final third entry. This time, however, it would be with an almost entirely new cast (save for Lurch’s Carel Struycken and Thing’s Christopher Hart), a new director (Dave Payne), and a new death sentence (“straight-to-video”). This would become 1998’s Addams Family Reunion, a movie that I don’t think anyone actually saw. Or knows about, for that matter.

Beyond wanting to see this to wrap up the trilogy, I was kind of excited to see that Tim Curry took over the Gomez role. Someone once said that no matter how horrible the part or silly the movie, Curry always gives it his all — and that makes him delightful to watch. I concur. And he definitely has a ton of fun being the exuberant head of the Addams household, overacting to the nines and making us applaud every minute of it.

Less good are some of the other replacements. Daryl Hannah really cannot pull off Morticia, even with a black wig. The new Wednesday makes me miss Christina Ricci’s brilliant turn as the goth psychopath. And the dude who plays Fester is a giggling idiot that so annoyed me I’m not even going to credit the actor who played him.

As we all know, the Addams clan are barely disguised monsters and horror tropes that live in what might as well be a haunted mansion and gleefully delight in all that is dark and gloomy. They’re as outcast and counter-cultural in a terrifically fun way to watch — people that don’t give a flying wombat whether or not others approve of their ways. Also, nobody seems to ask if their butler Lurch is a zombie, Frankenstein, or what.

When great-grandparents Mortimer and Delilah show up, the Addams are dismayed to discover that they have a condition that’s making them, well, less weird and more normal every day. So they bundle them up and head out to a proper Addams family reunion — except they end up at an Adams family get-together at a resort, and it’s the snobs vs the macabre all over again.

There are a couple of elements that work, such as the couple that ends up trapped in the Addams’ nightmarish home or Lurch becoming a successful pool lifeguard or Gomez winning at every sport event he’s challenged. It’s not a complete waste, but you’re going to have to lower your standards pretty far to be pleased here.

Addams Family Reunion screams “’90s television movie” in every setup, overplayed joke, and embrace of horrid CGI critters. But what’s the real crime here is that this sequel holds back from the black — or should I say “grave?” — humor that gave the first two movies a bit of an edge. Oh, they make some lame attempts in that direction, but it’s the Addams with all their sharp edges rounded off.

At one point, Pugsley complains, “This is boring.” Was he talking about the movie itself? It kind of felt like it.

Didja notice?

  • The mailbox with teeth —  and a terribly bad CGI tongue
  • “Let’s go play Spanish Inquisition!”
  • The kids watching a slasher flick
  • Lurch in a peach outfit
  • “Where do you buy your clothes, Black & Decker?”
  • “I’ll bury you!” “That’s never stopped me before.”

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