By: Trevor Chartrand
Everyone’s favorite spooky family is back in The Addams Family 2, the sequel to 2019’s animated stinker featuring a re-imaged version of the classic Addams family characters. This go-round is, surprisingly, a slight improvement on the first installment (which isn’t saying much), but ultimately both titles in this series so far feel like ‘babysitter’ movies – stuffed full of filler and thin on the narrative front. It’s something parents can plop their kids in front of while they do the dishes; there’s lots of pretty colours and goofy sounds, with plenty of movement for their young eyes to follow.
Having said that, this sequel does feel much more focused than the previous entry, with a single narrative drive that does not feature as many convoluted and unnecessary subplots as before. Simpler is certainly better in this case. The Addams Family 2 is ultimately a road trip movie that focuses on Wednesday Addams’ struggle to find her place in the world, after discovering that she may have been switched at birth… due to Uncle Fester’s nonsensical bumbling clumsiness.
The most positive outcome of this simpler story is that it will now be much easier for kids to pick out the film’s intended message, rather than having to dig endlessly for it in the bottomless pit of extraneous filler featured in that last film. The meaning of family is very clearly defined here, giving kids something more to take away from the movie than how funny it is when Uncle Fester falls down the stairs.
That’s not to say this film is not without its share of filler – there’s still plenty, especially in the first half of the movie. On a road trip, the Addams family get up to wacky hijinks as they travel from one city to the next. The repetitious pattern goes like this: a scene on the road, followed by some zany antics at Niagara Falls, then back in the car, and then more silliness at their next destination. Thankfully, towards the end of the film the story tightens up considerably and finally finds its stride, ultimately taking us to a fairly satisfying conclusion.
The returning cast, including Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, and even Chloë Grace Moretz, turn in the same decent performances as before, but Snoop Dogg is once again wasted as Cousin It. His iconic voice is muffled and indecipherable, with his recorded dialogue played backwards in this film. Some newcomers to the series are a welcome addition though, especially Wallace Shawn featured as an uptight lawyer and Bill Hader as Cyrus Strange, the scientist who might just be Wednesday Addams’ true biological father.
The animation style is once again more reminiscent of Illumination’s kind of flair (think Despicable Me/Minions), which leans more towards a cartoon-ish look than Pixar’s more polished approach, but this works just fine. It’s not breaking new ground as far as animated films go, but it’s a style kids will recognize and enjoy.
Overall, this second entry in the new Addams animated series is only marginally better than the last but, hey, progress is progress, right? The film flows better with less of the distracting slapstick of its predecessor. The exaggerated character traits have also been reigned in to make the Addams’ much more watchable, and almost relatable.
In the end, however, the film is still far from perfect but, if this series continues to improve with each instalment as it has so far, we might just see a great Addams Family animated film someday. Third time’s the charm? We’ll have to wait and see.
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Trevor Chartrand: @OhHaiTrebor