The Addams Family

(Barry Sonnenfeld, USA, 1991)


This is a big-budget, big-screen revamping of the ’60s television series, The Addams Family.

It is a busy, carefully mounted film, featuring nicely pitched, camp performances from Raul Julia (Gomez) and Anjelica Huston (Morticia), and a veritable orgy of snazzy camera moves unleashed by debut feature director Barry Sonnenfeld.

The problem with beloved television families is that they are essentially static units. The sole joke in The Addams Family is the conversion of supposedly abnormal behaviour into everyday, domestic normality. This joke is varied across the film, but it never changes.

Only the delicious scene in which the Addams clan endeavours to "re-enter the workforce" hints at the riot this film might have been, if only it had been more daringly disrespectful towards its television original.

MORE Sonnenfeld: For Love or Money, Get Shorty, Men in Black II, Men in Black

© Adrian Martin December 1991

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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