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27/06/2018    

27/06

Addams Family Values

Addams Family Values is a 1993 American supernatural black comedy film, the sequel to The Addams Family (1991). It was written by Paul Rudnick and directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, and features many cast members from the original, including Raúl Juliá, Anjelica Huston, Christopher Lloyd, Christina Ricci, Carel Struycken, Jimmy Workman, and Christopher Hart. Joan Cusack plays a serial killer who marries Uncle Fester (Lloyd) intending to murder him for his inheritance, while teenagers Wednesday (Ricci) and Pugsley (Workman) are sent to summer camp. Included in the soundtrack is "Supernatural Thing", which was a chart success for Ben E. King.

Compared to its predecessor, which retained something of the madcap approach of the 1960s sitcom, Addams Family Values is played more for macabre laughs. The film was acclaimed by critics, receiving significantly better reviews than its predecessor, which had a mixed critical reception. It was also a commercial success, but did not perform as well at the box office as the first film.

It is also Raúl Juliá's final theatrical film to be released in his lifetime.

Plot

Following the events of The Addams Family, Gomez and Morticia Addams hire a nanny, Debbie, to take care of their newborn son Pubert, after Wednesday and Pugsley's failed attempts to murder him. Unbeknownst to them, Debbie is a serial killer who marries rich bachelors and murders them to collect their inheritances.

After Debbie seduces Uncle Fester, Wednesday, the Addams' daughter, becomes suspicious. Debbie tricks Gomez and Morticia into believing Wednesday and her brother Pugsley want to go to summer camp. They are sent to Camp Chippewa, run by the overzealous Gary and Becky Granger, where they are singled out by the counselors, as well as popular girl Amanda Buckman, for their macabre dress and behavior. Joel, a nerdy bookworm who also does not fit in, becomes interested in Wednesday.

Debbie and Fester become engaged. At their bachelor and bachelorette parties, Debbie is horrified by the Addams family. On their honeymoon, she tries to kill Fester by throwing a radio in the bathtub, but he survives. Frustrated, Debbie forces him to sever ties with his family; when they try to visit Fester at Debbie's mansion, they are removed from the premises. The Addams find to their alarm that Pubert has transformed into a rosy-cheeked, golden-haired baby. Grandmama diagnoses this as a result of his disrupted family life, and Gomez becomes depressed.

At camp, Wednesday is cast as Pocahontas in Gary's saccharine Thanksgiving play. When she refuses to participate, she, Pugsley and Joel are forced to watch upbeat Disney and family films. Afterwards, Wednesday feigns cheerfulness and agrees to take part. During the performance, she stages a coup, capturing Amanda, Gary and Becky, and setting the camp on fire. She, Joel and Pugsley escape via a canoe, and Wednesday and Joel kiss.

Debbie tries to kill Fester by blowing up their mansion. When he survives, she pulls a gun and tells him she does not love him and is only interested in his money. Thing intervenes and Fester escapes. Fester apologizes to Gomez, and Wednesday and Pugsley return, the family reunited. Debbie arrives and ties the family to electric chairs, explaining that she killed her parents and previous husbands for incredibly selfish and materialistic reasons while the Addams listen with sympathy and compassion. Upstairs, Pubert, who has returned to normal, escapes from his crib and is propelled into the room where the family is being held. Debbie throws the switch to electrocute the family, but Pubert manipulates the wires, reversing the current and electrocuting her, incinerating her into a pile of white ash.

Months later, at Pubert's first birthday party, Fester laments Debbie's loss but becomes smitten with another nanny, Dementia. In the Addams Family graveyard, Wednesday tells Joel that Debbie was a sloppy killer, and she would instead scare her husband to death. As Joel lays flowers on Debbie's grave, a hand erupts from the earth and grabs him; he screams while Wednesday smiles.

Cast

Critical response

Addams Family Values was critically acclaimed, receiving significantly better reviews than the first film. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film received an approval rating of 78% based on 45 reviews, with an average rating of 6.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "New, well-developed characters add dimension to this batty satire, creating a comedy much more substantial than the original." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 62 out of 100 based on 20 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".

Janet Maslin of The New York Times wondered if "the making of this sequel was sheer drudgery for all concerned", then answered herself by writing, "There's simply too much glee on the screen, thanks to a cast and visual conception that were perfect in the first place, and a screenplay by Paul Rudnick that specializes in delightfully arch, subversive humor." Leonard Klady of Variety was slightly less enthusiastic: "It remains perilously slim in the story department, but glides over the thin ice with technical razzle-dazzle and an exceptionally winning cast."

Richard Schickel, writing for Time magazine, called it "an essentially lazy movie, too often settling for easy gags and special effects that don't come to any really funny point."

Both Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert disliked the first film, but while Siskel gave thumbs-down to this one, Ebert endorsed it.

The film was nominated for an Academy Award in the category Best Art Direction (Ken Adam, Marvin March), and Huston was nominated for the 1993 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for her performance as Morticia, a reprise of her Golden Globe-nominated performance in the 1991 original. The film won also a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Original Song for the Tag Team track "Addams Family (Whoomp!)".

Addams Family Values was nominated for AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs. In 2016, James Charisma of Playboy ranked the film #15 on a list of 15 Sequels That Are Way Better Than The Originals.

Box office performance

Addams Family Values opened at #1 at its initial weekend with a reported total of $14,117,545. In its second week, the film dropped to #2 behind Mrs. Doubtfire, and in its third week to #3 behind Mrs. Doubtfire and A Perfect World.

Its final domestic box office take was $48,919,043, a significant decline from the previous film's domestic total of $113,502,426.

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