The Addams Family 2 (2021)

GREG TIERNAN, CONRAD VERNON

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB

USA/, 2021. , , , , , , , . Story by , , Screenplay by Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit, , , based on characters created by . Produced by , , , , , , , Conrad Vernon.  Music by , . Production Design by . Film Editing by , .

They’ve settled into the neighbourhood without destroying it, but now the Addamses have a new problem on their hands when they are faced with little Wednesday’s burgeoning adolescent woes. After failing to take top prize at a science fair thanks to the organization’s deciding to insult her intelligence by giving everyone equal standing, Wednesday locks herself away in her room and begs her parents to leave her alone. Unable to stand discord in the family, father Gomez comes up with the perfect plan to make things right again: a road trip! America is full of so many dark secrets, so why not have a great time exploring them all.

Inconveniently, the clan are all climbing into the Addams Camper Van (which is hilariously roomy on the inside, one of the film’s only truly cherishable jokes), when they are approached by a lawyer for a mysterious client. It appears that there was a mixup in the hospital on the day that Wednesday was born, and it’s possible that she’s not actually the daughter of Gomez and Morticia but belongs to someone else. As their vehicle pings around the country between such delightful locations as Niagara Falls (at which they go over the cascades in a barrel), Sleepy Hollow, the Grand Canyon, Miami and San Antonio, Wednesday considers the news that she may not be related to her relatives and decides that this explains the sense of displacement she has been feeling for so long. She makes her way to Sausalito to restore herself to her rightful, biological relative, but that only sets the group down another crazy path involving human-animal hybrids and a mad scientist.

The success of the 2019 animated reboot made a sequel inevitable, and while they didn’t exactly rewrite the book on Addams classics the first time around, it certainly feels like they’re phoning it in on this one. As with the last one, it does seem to be a problem that the filmmakers don’t appreciate the subversion that should come naturally to any adaptation of Charles Addams’ world: these characters might seem ghoulish but they are actually more wholesome than the people who style themselves good and normal, but in a continuing misunderstanding of the way they should be presented, this film has biology trumping history and individual thinking stamped out in favour of conformity.

It’s amusing and has its charms, but it’s hardly more entertaining than the worst of the Hotel Transylvania series, playing like a long episode of a Saturday morning cartoon with a plot that is whimsical at best, flimsy at its worst.

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