|Addams Family Values|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Barry Sonnenfeld|
|Produced by||Scott Rudin|
|Written by||Paul Rudnick|
|Based on||The Addams Family|
by Charles Addams
|Music by||Marc Shaiman|
|Edited by||Arthur Schmidt|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$48.9 million|
Addams Family Values is a 1993 American 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 well received 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.
Gomez and Morticia Addams hire a nanny named Debbie to take care of their newborn son, Pubert, after older siblings 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 becomes suspicious of her intentions. In order to maintain her cover, Debbie tricks Gomez and Morticia into believing Wednesday and Pugsley want to go to summer camp. They are sent to Camp Chippewa, managed 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 boombox in the bathtub, but the attempt fails. 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 are alarmed to find that Pubert has transformed into a rosy-cheeked, golden-haired baby. Grandmama Addams 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. Debbie thinks she finally killed Fester, but it turns out he actually survived the explosion. After this, 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, reuniting the family. 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 and electrocutes her instead of the family, incinerating her into a pile of 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.
- Raúl Juliá as Gomez Addams
- Anjelica Huston as Morticia Addams
- Christopher Lloyd as Uncle Fester
- Christina Ricci as Wednesday Addams
- Christopher Hart's Hand as Thing
- Carel Struycken as Lurch
- Jimmy Workman as Pugsley Addams
- John Franklin as Cousin Itt
- Dana Ivey as Margaret Alford (Mrs. Cousin Itt)
- Carol Kane as Grandmama Addams (replacing Judith Malina)
- Joan Cusack as Debbie Jellinsky, a professional black widow
- David Krumholtz as Joel Glicker, Wednesday's love interest
- Kaitlyn and Kristen Hooper as Pubert Addams
- Peter MacNicol as Gary Granger; he and his wife Becky are in charge of Camp Chippewa
- Christine Baranski as Becky Martin-Granger
- Mercedes McNab as Amanda Buckman (she was the Girl Scout in the first film)
- Cynthia Nixon as Heather, one of the potential nannies
- Cameo roles
- Director Barry Sonnenfeld as Mr. Glicker
- Nathan Lane as Police Desk Sergeant (Lane would eventually go on to playing Gomez in The Addams Family musical.)
- David Hyde Pierce as Delivery Room Doctor
- Sam McMurray as Don Buckman, Amanda's father
- Harriet Sansom Harris as Ellen Buckman, Amanda's mother
- Ian Abercrombie as Driver
- Tony Shalhoub as Jorge, a patron at the bar Debbie goes to
The "family values" in the movie's title is a tongue-in-cheek reference by writer Paul Rudnick to an infamous 1992 speech ("Reflections on Urban America") made by then-Vice Presidential candidate Dan Quayle. In the speech, Quayle had blamed the 1992 Los Angeles riots on a breakdown of "family values", which caused much controversy and derision afterwards.
According to Anjelica Huston, during the filming of Addams Family Values it became increasingly clear that Raúl Juliá's health was deteriorating. He had trouble eating, and was losing weight as a result. He died within a year after the film was released.
Addams Family Values was well received, receiving significantly better reviews than the first film. On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film received an approval rating of 76% based on 46 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". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B+.
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."
Both Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert disliked the first film. Siskel gave this film a mixed review and accused Sonnenfeld of caring more about how the film looks than how the jokes play. Ebert thought that unusually for a sequel, it was better than the first film and he enjoyed the various subplots, and recommended the film.
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!)".
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.
- Addams Family Values: The Original Orchestral Score composed by Marc Shaiman
- Addams Family Values: Music from the Motion Picture Various artist soundtrack album
Michael Jackson's Involvement
American popular singer Michael Jackson was supposed to feature a song in the film called Addams Groove/Family Thing. The song was ultimately removed due to child sexual abuse allegations against Jackson. The song has been leaked online.
In Australia, the film was released on VHS by Paramount Home Entertainment (Australasia) in 1994. In 2002 the film was released on DVD with theatrical trailers in the extra features.
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- Siskel & Ebert "Addams Family Values/The Snapper/Dangerous Game/The Saint of Fort Washington/Like Water for Chocolate" airdate (20 November 1993). Season 8 Episode 11
- Roger Ebert (November 19, 1993). "Addams Family Values".
It's the rare sequel that is better than its original
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