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A Festering talent
by Asa Butcher
2008-10-22 09:31:29
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The Addams Family
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
1991, Paramount Pictures

"Da da da dum click click da da da dum click click da da da dum da da da dum da da da dum click click, They're creepy and they're kooky, Mysterious and spooky, They're all together ooky, The Addams Family!" Now that you also have that theme tune stuck in your head all day, I shall begin my review of The Addams Family proper!

Why on earth am I reviewing this relatively forgotten 1991 film based upon yet another U.S. TV show? Well, today is Christopher Lloyd's 70th birthday and when faced with what to review to honour this special occasion my mind went straight to his film debut in the Best Picture winner One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, but then I thought nah! Perhaps I could have chosen his iconic role as Doc Brown in the Back to the Future trilogy or even his turn as the evil Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but I just couldn't resist Christopher Lloyd in a fat suit!

You can tell my mood from the overzealous use of exclamation marks in the first paragraph, but I'll blame that on feeling rather 'ooky' - whatever that means. Anyway, I remember going to the cinema in my hometown back in the early-90s to watch the film, even though I had never watched a single episode of "The Addams Family" - I seem to remember British television broadcasting its so-called rival "The Munsters". What drew me to buy a cinema ticket was the fantastic cast list, especially the stunning Anjelica Huston - a must-see for any hormonally-charged teenager.

For those unfamiliar with the TV show or the two films (there was an equally excellent sequel two years later called Addams Family Values), the Addams consist of the parents Gomez and Morticia, their two children Wednesday and Pugsley, Gomez's brother Fester and Gomez's mother Grandmama, plus, of course, their man-servant Lurch and a disembodied hand named Thing. Together they live in your classic Haunted Mansion and practice their assorted macabre interests to the shock and horror of the rest of the world.

The film's plot, however, sees the return of Uncle Fester, who went missing years before following an argument with Gomez, but Fester doesn't know he's Fester. He believes he is Gordon Craven and has been charged by his step-mother to gain access to the Addams' vast fortune hidden deep within the house. As Fester gradually reintegrates further into the family he begins to rediscover who he truly is much to the family's relief.

The chemistry between Raúl Juliá as Gomez and Christopher Lloyd as Fester is perfect leaving you in doubt that they are really long-lost brothers and actually exist in reality, while the relationship between Julia and Anjelica Huston's Morticia is sizzling, albeit in a morbid fashion. The casting of each of the film's main characters is note-perfect, with Christina Ricci proving her excellent child performance in Mermaids hadn't been a fluke - she is my favourite in both films. The Trekkie in me was thrilled to spot ST:TNG's Mr Homn, a.k.a. Carel Struycken, as Lurch and the special effects that brought Thing to life are still pretty impressive 17 years later.

I hope fans of Christopher Lloyd will forgive my choice of review today, but they can be assured that my Best Picture reviews will eventually reach One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. However, Lloyd's performance as Fester showed that he not only can do mad scientist, psychotic judge or taxi driver, but is quite happy to strap on a fat suit, go bald and stick a light bulb in his mouth. Happy birthday, Mr Lloyd!

And let's hear it one more time: Da da da dum click click da da da dum click click

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Tony2008-10-23 11:45:04
Everyone should have a Book called Greed, especially if it leads to your secret millions!

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