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That creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky clan is back for the deliciously malicious sequel ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES ($30). Picking up nine months after the conclusion of THE ADDAMS FAMILY, ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES begins with the birth Pubert, a new sibling for Wednesday (Christina Ricci) and Pugsley (Jimmy Workman). While Morticia (Anjelica Huston) and Gomez (Raul Julia) adore their little bundle or dread, Wednesday and Pugsley set out to eliminate the competition for their parents’ affection. Deciding they need a watchful eye to keep the children out of trouble, Morticia and Gomez decide to engage a nanny.

By process of elimination, the Addams’ hire Debbie Jellinsky (Joan Cusack), a woman who is better suited to the family than any of them could possibly know. It seems that Debbie is a homicidal maniac, one who has killed all of her husbands for their money. Debbie immediately sets her sights on Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd), the rich eligible bachelor of the Addams household. Of course, Wednesday is immediately suspicious of Debbie, but before she can do anything, she finds herself packed off to summer camp, along with her brother Pugsley. This leaves black-widow Debbie free to wed and dispatch Fester at her leisure. Unfortunately, as preoccupied with death as the Addams’ seem to be, killing Fester proves to be virtually impossible… although, Debbie keeps trying.

ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES is even more entertaining than the original because it showcases Christina Ricci whose brilliant deadpan delivery of every ghoulishly good line virtually stole the show in the first movie. Seeing Wednesday endure her time at the nauseatingly goody-goody summer camp is a treat not to be missed. Anjelica Huston and Raul Julia are again utter perfection as Morticia and Gomez, adding another layer to their marvelous characterizations as the now doting parents of the mustached infant Pubert. Christopher Lloyd does a good job with the romantically inept Fester, but it is Joan Cusack who really steals the movie with one of her best comic portrayals. Cusack can do a comic 360 with the character, going from sane to insane, without batting an eye. The delightful cast of ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES also includes Carol Kane, Jimmy Workman, Carel Struycken, David Krumholtz, Christopher Hart, Dana Ivey, Peter MacNicol, Christine Baranski, Mercedes McNab, Sam McMurray, Harriet Sansom Harris, Julie Halston, Barry Sonnenfeld, Nathan Lane, David Hyde Pierce, Tony Shalhoub and Peter Graves.

Paramount has done a very nice job with their DVD edition of ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES, offering the film in a wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for 16:9 displays. ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES is properly framed at 1.85:1 and the transfer delivers a clean, detailed image. Since the plot of ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES takes the characters away from the dreary shadowy recesses of the family home, colors tend to be more vibrant in this film than they were in the first. Colors are well reproduced, without any evidence of chroma noise or bleeding. Flesh tones are what you would expect; the Addams family maintains their unnatural pallor, while everyone else appears fairly healthy. Blacks are true black and the image maintains smooth contrast under various lighting conditions. Digital compression artifacts are well concealed throughout.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack has a very good mix that envelops the viewer in the insane little world of the movie. Sound effects zip around the entire soundstage, including the split surrounds, although most of activity seems to be localized up front. Dialogue reproduction is crisp and never buried under any of the other sonic elements. Marc Shaiman delivers another engaging score that is well integrated into the mix. The film has absolutely no need for Earth shattering bass, but the track has a distinct bottom end that comes to life when required. An English Dolby Surround soundtrack is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English subtitles.

The interactive menus are standard issue, providing access to the expected scene selection and set up features. There are two theatrical trailers provided as supplement on the DVD, which are also accessible through the menu system.


Addams Family Values (1993)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2000 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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