The Addams Family (3 stars)

The Addams Family

Charlize Theron and Oscar Isaac lend their voices to this respectful but less than lush animated reboot for the ghoulish clan

'With Snoop Dogg as Cousin It' is the kind of credit that may horrify fans of the previous incarnations of The Addams Family; created by American cartoonist Charles Addams in 1938 for The New Yorker, they hit television back in 1964 and were rebooted for film in the 1990s. But friends of the family need not worry: hair-mountain Cousin It doesn't enter the action until late on, and speaks only through squeaks, so the rapper's stunt-casting doesn't distract from this respectful, if dispiritingly vanilla computer-animated version.

Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon's film begins with an origin story, depicting young Morticia (voiced by Charlize Theron) preparing for her wedding to Gomez Addams (Oscar Isaac). Torch-bearing villagers break up their romantic idyll, and the couple swiftly relocate to New Jersey – where 'no one would be caught dead'. Their five-fingered pet Thing is joined by butler Lurch (played by Vernon), Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll) and, within a few years, two children, Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) and Pugsley (Stranger Things' Finn Wolfhard). But the family's values are tested when reality TV host and busy-body Margaux Needler (Allison Janney) takes on the Addams family as part of her gentrification of the area.

The best gags in this new version update classic jokes: the furious villagers are now controlled via social media fake news, while Wednesday appears identically wan in every one of her friend's Instagram filters. The family predilection for using dangerous weapons survives intact, even if the darkly Gothic spirit of the Barry Sonnenfeld films is largely missing.

The standard of the animation, however, is less than lush, and doesn't sit well in comparison with most recent studio releases, such as the similar Hotel Transylvania franchise. But, with a decent voice cast and a style that pays homage to the original drawings, The Addams Family passes muster as a disconcertingly cheerful, family-friendly romp.

General release from Fri 25 Oct.

The Addams Family

  • 3 stars
  • 2019
  • US
  • 1h 27min
  • PG
  • Directed by: Conrad Vernon, Greg Tiernan
  • Cast: Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll, Snoop Dogg, Bette Midler, Allison Janney
  • UK release: 25 October 2019

The titular family, Morticia (Theron), Gomez (Isaac), Wednesday (Moretz) and Pugsley (Wolfhard), are targeted by reality TV host Margaux Needler (Janney). The voice cast is decent and the style pays homage to Charles Addams' drawings, but it misses the darkly Gothic spirit of both the original and the Barry Sonnenfeld…

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