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The Addams Family (1991)

tomatometer

60

Average Rating: 5.6/10
Reviews Counted: 40
Fresh: 24 | Rotten: 16

The movie is peppered with amusing sight gags and one-liners, but the disjointed script doesn't cohere into a successful whole.

22

Average Rating: 4.3/10
Critic Reviews: 9
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 7

The movie is peppered with amusing sight gags and one-liners, but the disjointed script doesn't cohere into a successful whole.

audience

66

liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 313,343

My Rating

Movie Info

The eccentric lifestyle of the Addams family is threatened when the family attorney and a greedy mother/son team conspire to steal the family fortune.

Feb 22, 2000

Paramount Pictures

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All Critics (40) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (16) | DVD (13)

They're creepy and they're predictable? Mysterious and rather tame?

July 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ooky the Addamses may be, subversive they ain't; it plays like a paean to the nuclear family.

August 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An extended collection of one-liners and not much more.

May 3, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comment (1)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Despite inspired casting and nifty visual trappings, the eagerly awaited Addams Family figures as a major disappointment.

May 3, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ooky the Addamses may be, subversive they ain't; it plays like a paean to the nuclear family.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film's aimlessness and repetitiveness eventually become draining.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Dark comedy with macabre humor for teens.

January 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Deliciously sick and delightfully cast.

July 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A twisted treat.

July 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Cinematographer-turned-director Barry Sonnenfeld and screenwriters Larry Wilson and Caroline Thompson haven't solved the problem of how to construct a film around a one-joke concept.

May 3, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Funny feature film version of the classic TV show, and just as ghoulishly hilarious.

December 23, 2006
Dispatch-Tribune Newspapers

The plot is a threadbare thing indeed.

October 25, 2006 Full Review Source: DVDTalk.com
DVDTalk.com

Basically plotless, this big-screen transfer of the cult TV series has some good vignettes and some good performances by Anjelica Huston, Christina Ricci and others.

June 12, 2005 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

creepy and funny

April 29, 2005
Shadows on the Wall

Great translation of the classic television series.

April 22, 2005
Nolan's Pop Culture Review

I suppose there's a certain kooky charm, but talk about dated...

October 7, 2004 | Comment (1)
eCinemaCenter.com

Close but no banana; except sublime Raul Julia

April 6, 2003

The quality of humor varies from very black to very silly.

March 23, 2003 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Still Sonnenfeld's best film.

November 30, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Has just enough dark comedy to make it memorable.

November 13, 2002
Juicy Cerebellum

Audience Reviews for The Addams Family

Taking inspiration from both Charles Addams's New Yorker cartoons and (especially) the 1960s TV series, this was cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld's directorial debut, and a fun take on the venerable family that is creepy, kooky, mysterious, spooky, and altogether ooky.

Departing from the source material, the film begins with the titular clan having a seance to commemorate Gomez's estranged brother Fester who, following a terrible argument, disappeared 25 years earlier. Fester does make his return, but not all is as it seems, as what's really going on is an attempt to steal the Addams's vast fortune by using an imposter to pose as Fester.

So, right off the bat, I gotta say: the plot sucks. It's nothing special, and really weak. It's easily the weakest aspect here, as this film is otherwise quite entertaining and fun. The film is primarily driven by gags, whether it's just the characters being morbidly offbeat and funny at home or when they're dealing with 'normal' society.

That's the cool thing here. The cartoons and show highlighted the clash between the family and outsiders, but the film really hammers home that satire and commentary, thanks in no small part to some occasionally sharp and witty writing, and especially some great performances from and awesomely chosen cast.

I think the film gets a little too bogged down sometimes with the impostor plot, but I guess they had to come off with some sort of plot to make this work as a film, so, really, this could have been worse. When the film is just focused on the character moments though, it's a lot of fun.

The art direction, set design, and costumes are awesome and compliment the atmosphere, mood, and tone perfectly. It's a nice blend of gothic aesthetics that adds a sometimes timeless, or at least vintage air to things. As for the cast, Raul Julia is a scenery chewing delight as the patriarch Gomez. Anjelica Huston is a more subtle, but seductively compelling character as his wife Morticia, and then there's Christopher Lloyd as the would be Fester. He's sometimes unrecognizable, but he does a good job in a somewhat tough role. Christina Ricci was practically tailor-made for Wednesday, and, I feel the need to give special praise to Christopher Hart who does a great job as the severed hand Thing, who is something of a pet for the Addams family. Playing more normal characters are Dan Hedaya as the family lawyer, and Dana Ivey as his wife. They're both decent. Elizabeth Wilson plays the con woman who uses her son to play Fester to infiltrate the family, and, while she does have a few scenery chewing moments I like, I don't think she's that good of a character.

This is a film I'm quite partial to, having watched it many times over the years. My love for it has waned a tad, but I still dig it a lot. During the 1990s, there was a slew of movies adapted from 60s television shows, and, while this one has it's problems, it and it's sequel are clearly on the high end of the scale as far as these adaptations go.
November 4, 2013
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Of course we all know what this is based on, the excellent cartoons of one Charles Addams, his macabre little sketches were visually simple yet highly imaginative (for the time) and in my opinion ahead of their time.

Many incarnations of Addams creation have come and gone, most of which have all turned out pretty well and this film from Rudin is no exception in my view.

With a perfect cast of character actors just shy of being oddballs themselves this film is brought to life in a sweeping gothic spooky style that compliments the original source material to a tee. In my view Julia IS 'Gomez' and will always be, his ball eyed lunacy and sharp pin stripe suits are spot on as is his pencil thin moustache giving him that great suave caddish style.

'They say that a man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client. And, with God as my witness, I am that fool!'

All the family are correct and present with outstanding performances from Lloyd as 'Fester', Huston as 'Morticia', Workman as 'Pugsley' and newly discovered Ricci as the chilling emotionless 'Wednesday'. Add to that great backup from the rest of the cast including some neat effects to create 'Thing' which really does look quite good even today. Some nice hands on makeup/effects to bring 'Cousin Itt' to life without the use of CGI. In fact this old film is a testament to how good effects can be with good hard work and craftsmanship. The Addams Mansion is clearly a model in some shots but they seemed to build a huge set also! its gorgeous! really really makes a difference instead of relying on the dreaded CGI monster.

I really do love this film as, in my opinion, its a great adaptation of the source material and sticks to what works, its fun for all the family whilst retaining a nice balance of kooky, spooky ghoulish looks and humour alongside some lovely set work, character makeup and costume.

If you like 'The Addams Family' then I'm confident you would enjoy this version, the plot is simple and works well as Rudin doesn't go over the top. A lovely musical score and some quirky visual moments all add to a fun filled halloween creepy comedy. The 'Addams rap' song in the closing credits is also surprisingly cool.

'Don't torture yourself Gomez...that's my job'
April 1, 2013
phubbs1

Super Reviewer

This is a fun little comedy horror film that should appeal comedy fans as much as horror fans alike. Barry Sonnenfeld has had a hit and miss career as a director, but with The Addams Family, he delivers something very amusing based on the cartoon. The success of the film lies with its terrific cast of talented actors, add to that a funny, horror themed script and you have a perfect film to watch during the Halloween season. There are some really good performances here, especially from Anjelica Houston and Raul Julia. This is really a good film that could introduce potential new fans to the genre of horror as the film's script balances both comedy and horror. This is an entertaining ride from start to finish. I really enjoyed the humor in the film, and along with other comedy horror films, it has a secured place in the genre. I really enjoyed the fact that the film relied on the macabre tones of the cartoons and kept the insanity that the Addams Family such a hit. This is one of those films that deliver as much laughs as spooks, and it really delivers something truly fun and original. I would say that The Addams Family is in the same league as Tim Burton's Beetlejuice. The morbid, darkly humorous bits are the best aspect of the film, and Barry Sonnenfeld has crafted one of his greatest works with this one. I think it's too bad that he's fairly hit and miss nowadays. Although it has its fair share of imperfections, The Addams Family is a demented treat to watch and with a great cast that really shine, you're sure to enjoy this if you're a fan of comedic horror.
October 11, 2012
TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

A rather large part of my childhood has always been The Addams Family. From the time I was in elementary school, there was just something about this bizarre family that sparked my love and appreciation for all things dark and creepy. Plus, let's just say that after seeing Morticia Addams I finally became a teenager. Plus, with the original show being Black and White, it just gave all this dream like appearance and tone that just made the show even more enjoyable. Around the early half of the new millennium, I saw The Addams Family (film) and I remember falling in love with the movie. Then for a few years I never saw the film until it came on uncut one night a couple of days ago. Watching it, I mainly found myself rethinking of the early days of my love for the macabre and why I loved the film so much. However, due to me having a critical brain with films, I was left analyzing the film and it's worth. From a critical perspective, I was a little unsatisfied.

Okay, I guess that the main problem with the film is just the direction. I mean, the main story of Fester returning to the Addams after so many years is presented well enough, but there are so many elements that scream that the director was trying to make this into a huge theatrical experience (mainly with the ending). The rest of the film was okay, but the ending confrontation just felt a little off. I get it that the Addams will always be for one another, but how it was staged was not at all what I would have liked. Glad they were able to keep some of the dark humor intact.

The other main problem I had with this film is that one of my favorite parts was not developed as much as I would have wanted: the Addams in the real world. There is a part in the film that involves the Addams being thrown out of their home and trying to make it as real people. Those scenes were probably the best in the entire film. However, those scenes I wish would have been more developed. To me, they just scratched the surface and never got that deep into anything. What we do see is not only hilarious, but insightful as to how clueless and lost our macabre clan is without their home and family. In all honesty, that is one section I wish they would have shown more of.

I know I have been bashing this film, but trust me when I say that there is a lot of good with this film. Mainly with the cast. At my core, I will always adore the original cast that made up the Addams. But this film does what all film adaptions of a television series needs to do: appropriately update the look of the characters. My favorite of them all has to be Wednesday Addams. In the show she is shown as a little sweet, innocent girl. Here she is completely brutal and down right horrifying for a little girl. That is one of the main updates I like. The other is the performances by Raul Julia (Gomez), Angelica Houston (Morticia), and Christopher Lloyd (Fester). The reason why these three stick out is due to how much they become their character, how believable they are, and to top it all off how much fun they make the film. With the casting, they were spot on for almost every character.

The other thing that does make this film enjoyable is the attention for detail. One of the things that made the show wonderful to watch was how extreme the background and details were. Things like moving plants, odd noises, bizarre family members, all of that is present. If you do adore details in film, then this is a film that will require multiple viewing for you will miss certain elements here and there that just enriches the entire experience.

So, in retrospect, this film has great nostalgia value, but as a critical piece, there are some elements I wish that could have been improved on. Now, is this film worth watching? Without a doubt: yes it is. Granted, it is lacking in some areas that would have been wonderful if fulfilled. But, for what it is, it is pretty good.
July 14, 2012
Zach Brehany

Super Reviewer

    1. Pugsley Addams: [about to bury two people] Are they dead?
    2. Wednesday Addams: Does it matter?
    – Submitted by Bria M (2 years ago)
    1. Morticia Addams: I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny.
    2. Morticia Addams: But we can have lots of good fun... that is funny.
    3. Morticia Addams: Oh no, he lives.
    – Submitted by Isabella M (2 years ago)
    1. Wednesday Addams: I have decided to scalp you and burn your village to the ground.
    – Submitted by Isabella M (2 years ago)
    1. Girl Scout: Is this made from real lemons?
    2. Wednesday Addams: Yes.
    3. Girl Scout: I only like all-natural foods and beverages, organically grown, with no preservatives. Are you sure they're real lemons?
    4. Wednesday Addams: Yes.
    5. Gordon Craven: Well, I'll tell you what. I'll buy a cup if you buy a box of my delicious Girl Scout cookies. Do we have a deal?
    6. Gordon Craven: Are they made from real Girl Scouts?
    – Submitted by Filipe M (2 years ago)
View all quotes (4)

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