Hollywood’s plundering of classic TV series has produced its fair share of turkeys, but this is a glorious exception.
This is partly owing to director Barry Sonnenfeld’s wise decision to stick with the black humour of Charles Addams’s original and very popular New Yorker cartoons rather than the kitsch 1960s TV series and, perhaps more importantly, some inspired casting – Anjelica Huston and Raul Julia are note-perfect as loving Morticia and Gomez, while Christopher Lloyd was equally born to play Fester.
However, these stars are almost surpassed by the astonishingly agile Thing and by Christina Ricci’s splendid performance as the young Wednesday.
The plot – a confidence trickster (Lloyd) posing as Fester to steal the Addams fortune – is a tad contrived, but Sonnenfeld makes a confident transition from cinematographer to director (he proved himself again with Get Shorty in 1995) and the result is a witty family comedy that has enough sly humour to keep adults chuckling throughout.
The massive success of the film inspired the cast to return for a sequel.
Uncle Fester Addams/Gordon Craven