The 1991 incarnation of The Adams Family was my introduction to that creepiest and kookiest of families. Indeed, although I’m sure I saw the 1993 sequel, Adams Family Values, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen any other iteration of the franchise.
Which is strange, because I really loved this movie when it came out. I’m not sure the reviews were as kind, but I bought this on VHS at the earliest opportunity and watched it endlessly throughout my teen years.
But beloved though it was to my younger self, I’m not sure I had seen it in the last twenty years. Until recently. When I did watch it out of curiosity, to see if still held up. And I could see that objectively, it probably wasn’t as good as I thought it was. There really isn’t too much in the way of plot and it mostly relies on puns and sight gags.
They do come thick and fast though and at that rate some are bound to hit their mark and I did genuinely laugh out loud at several points during this re-watch. And when you factor in the nostalgia element, I find it very hard to be objective about this one. I still love it.
However, even without rose-tinted glasses, there is much to recommend this movie. The material may be generally quite weak, but the cast make the most of what they are given. And what a cast it is. A young Christina Ricci excels as Wednesday Adams, while Christopher Lloyd is clearly having fun as Uncle Fester. Ultimately though, it’s hard to look beyond Mr and Mrs. Adams; Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston are never less that extraordinary as Gomez and Morticia and they elevate The Adams Family to a level that it probably doesn’t deserve.
Score for Christmasishness
Obviously more-suited to Halloween viewing (if you want to mark the occasion and horror movies don’t really appeal, which they most definitely don’t to me), there is very little to recommend The Adams Family as a Christmas movie. Except for the beginning, which is remarkably Christmas(ish) as the opening credits have a very festive feel before we are introduced to some very merry carol singers. This is, admittedly, all the set-up to a joke, as we pan up to see the titular family about to pour what looks like boiling oil on the aforementioned gathering. So it’s not exactly brimming with Christmas spirt.