The saddest thing about the new animated version of “The Addams Family” is that it squanders nearly every last drop of potential. The creepy, kooky, mysterious, and spooky family is given the most disappointing of big screen treatments in this half-baked disappointment of a movie.
Young Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard) is about to embark on an Addams right of passage: performing a sword dance called the Mazurka. In honor of their son’s big day, Gomez (Oscar Isaac) and Morticia (Charlize Theron) are busy preparing for a visit from a menagerie of their creepy relatives. With the help of Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz), Uncle Fester (a very funny Nick Kroll), and Grandma (Bette Midler), things are looking delightfully dreary, until sunny (and shady) television personality Margaux Needler (Allison Janney) realizes the family’s eerie hilltop mansion is hindering her dream of selling cookie-cutter houses in a manufactured neighborhood called Assimilation.
It’s the most basic of stories, but this film could’ve been so much more if only it had embraced its quirky brand of macabre humor. There are a few inspired jokes, but mostly everything simply flatlines. The sparse plot feels both rushed yet slow, and the lackluster voice performances make things even worse. At least the animation meets a higher standard, but it’s far too easy to disregard the eye-catching look of the movie when the actors are obviously phoning it in (Elsie Fisher, Wolfhard, and Theron turn in particularly empty performances).
The result is a movie that doesn’t much appeal to adults or kids, and it’s so bland that everyone will get bored with it quickly. Such a pity that a goldmine of material was so thoroughly wasted.