Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Addams Family Values

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  You know how it works, I watch a movie and blog about it.  It's just that simple.  Today, I'm doing Addams Family Values.  This is originally in my notes at October 27, 2019.

So when I picked up the Addams Family on Blu-ray a couple of weeks ago, it was in a 2-pack with its sequel, Addams Family Values.  I just looked at that and though, "How have I never seen the second one?"  So it was finally time to sit down tonight and give this disc a spin. 

The reputation has grown over the years that the second one is the funnier of the two, and that just makes sense.  Reading up on the production of the first one as I write these up, I see the first one was a rather troubled production.  The movie studio went bankrupt, so the production was sold to a second one.  We had a rookie director on his first outing.  They couldn't keep a cinematographer, so the director had to do double-duty.  The script underwent numerous re-writes.  But on the second, one, all that BS was behind them, so they could just focus on making the movie.  But, the second one did have its problems as well.  As Angelica Houston writes in her memoirs, it was during the second one that Raul Julia first started noticing there was something wrong with his health.  He passed away a year later. 

The first film ended with Morticia announcing she was pregnant, so naturally, the second film opens with her giving birth.  Wednesday and Puglsy are somewhat jealous of all the attention their new baby brother Pubert is getting.  As shown in the previous film, since their games with each other have a somewhat...homicidal edge, when they start incorporating Pubert into their games, Gomez and Moticia really do start worrying for the baby's safety.  So, they decide to hire a nanny to help out.  In walks Debbie Jelinsky, played by Joan Cusak. 

Debbie gets along swimmingly with the Addams Family, despite their eccentricities, and we soon learn why.  She's a black widow...marrying rich bachelors and then murdering them, so as to claim their fortunes.  And now she's got her sights set on Uncle Fester.  Wednesday, though, is blossoming to be quite the little homicidal maniac, so when she starts getting wise to Debbie, Debbie recommends the kids be sent off to summer camp. 

And here's where the movie kicks into high gear.  This is where we get the bitter, sarcastic Wednesday of memes.  This is where Christina Ricci became a star, as Wednesday's grim demeanor and "takes no shit" attitude is the perfect contrast to the cheery and chipper campers that surround her. 

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Debbie's plan goes awry, as all her plans to off Fester don't work as, well, to an Addams, it's just regular ol' playtime.  So her attempts to kill Fester get bigger and bigger and more cartoony. 

Sadly, with all this going on, Morticia and Gomez do kind of get shuffled off the sidelines, and we don't get near enough of them in this film.  And things do start to feel a little disjointed as we're bouncing back and forth between the kids at summer camp and Fester in wedded bliss. 

But, fear not, the family all comes back together at the end to save Fester from Debbie. 

I do have to agree, this is the funnier of the two, and a lot of it comes down to Wednesday's biting one-liners.  While this is the funnier film, it wasn't the bigger hit when it came out in the holiday season of 1993, and with the death of Julia, the franchise ended.  But we got a solid two films out of it.

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