Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

While I can confidently say nothing can ever match the energy and excellence of the two 90s Addams Family films, this CGI-animated sequel does right by its timeless characters. Following 2019’s very fun reboot of the series, The Addams Family 2 is the road trip sequel you never knew you needed. Returning cast is joined by new addition Bill Hader, who fittingly plays the villain. Finn Wolfhard (Pugsley in the first film) has been replaced by Euphoria actor Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton—if anything, he is actually an even better fit. The vocal work in general this time around feels more natural and truer to the characters. This spooky season, if one is on the hunt for a movie the whole family can enjoy, The Addams Family 2 is the perfect horror-tinged comedy extravaganza.

Powered by an opening chunk featuring typical Addams destruction at a science fair, Wednesday (Carrie actress, Chloe Grace Moretz) is especially angsty. “With every trophy, I become more unremarkable,” she opines. Wednesday seems frustrated that her parents are not showing her enough hate, simply relishing in the brilliance of her experiment without seeming to care that she only received a measly participation trophy for her efforts. The experiment she conducted posits that personality traits can be implanted and transferred from one subject to the next—in this case, she has demonstrated that Fester (Big Mouth’s Nick Kroll) will take on the intelligence of her pet squid, Socrates. Before taking in the squid’s DNA, Fester is content to eat a Rubix cube whole; after, he solves the cube in a manner of seconds. Over the course of The Addams Family 2, Fester’s DNA is slowly changing, developing physical characteristics directly from the animal. The importance of Wednesday’s performance during the opening becomes far more important to the narrative than one might think. When Wednesday was born, Fester juggled babies in the maternity ward, and potentially, they became horribly mixed up. Mad scientist, Cyrus (Bill Hader) shows up on the Addams’ doorstep, insisting that Wednesday is actually his daughter. Yes, it is every bit as ridiculous as it sounds.

The Addams clan decides they want to take things on wheels, with the help of the trusty Addams Camper. A three week road trip may be exactly what they need to clear the air! Grandma (Bette Midler) stays behind to watch the family mansion while the others are away, though she has her own agenda while having the massive home to herself. When Gomez (Oscar Isaac) delivers a line about “The Addams Family Vacation,” I was left wondering why this was not the title of the film; however, I am not complaining. Numbered titles have an appealing simplicity in them, and being only two movies deep, I am sure serves only to aid the level of marketability.

The road trip itself is filled to the brim with oddities and signature dark humor one can really only find from the Addams Family. Cousin It (Snoop Dogg) is especially a delight. His big entrance via a jet-ski is a clear highlight of the film. I loved later on when his phone goes off, and the ring tone is Snoop’s very own “Drop It Like It’s Hot.” A detour for the hysterical “Little Miss Jalapeño Pepper” contest initially seems completely off-brand for the kooky family. The Addams show up donned in cowboy garb. Wednesday as a blonde must be seen to be believed. Before long, we get a big set piece: blood-red paint splattering everywhere that shocks the crowd. The brilliant performance piece is a running theme; in the 1991 film, Wednesday and Pugley’s blood-squirting stage play, and in 1993’s Addams Family Values, the Thanksgiving-themed disastrous pilgrim takeover. I guess one could say crazy really loves a crowd…

I had so much fun with this silly sequel. It never takes itself too seriously, makes sure the audience is in on the joke, and remains faithful to the Addams Family of yesteryear. I am not sure beyond that what could appease die-hard fans. Where else can one find a proposal gone wrong (again and again), Gomez whispering to Morticia (Charlize Theron, Prometheus): “you know what French does to me,” Pugsley falling in love with a girl that’s part-pig, and (best of all), an extravagant musical number featuring Lurch belting out “I Will Survive.” If they decide to make a third Addams Family, I will happily purchase a ticket!

The Addams Family 2 takes the kooky crew on the road, coming to theaters and premium VOD on Friday, October 1st.

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