Sunday, May 5, 2019

The Adams Family

Movie Name: The Adams Family
Year of Release: 1991
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Starring: Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd, Christina Ricci, Dan Hedaya, Elizabeth Wilson, Dana Ivey, Carel Struycken, Paul Benedict, Jimmy Workman, Christopher Hart, Judith Malina
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6 
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
After a solid start in the film world as a cinematographer, Barry Sonnenfeld made the jump into feature film direction with "The Adams Family". Based on the cartoons created by Charles Adams (which were firstly published in The New Yorker in 1938), the film follows the story of the unconventional Adams family. The story revolves around their long lost family member Fester Adams (the older brother of Gomez). The son of con artist Abigail Craven, by the name of Gordon, shows up at the family's mansion, claiming to be Fester. In reality this is all part of a ploy, in order to discover where the family keeps their riches within the vast mansion they own. This ploy is orchestrated by Gomez's lawyer, Tully, who owes money to said con artist/loan shark and who sees this as a quick way to get the money he so urgently needs. However, Gordon/Fester turns out to be more than anticipated.
Based on a screenplay by Caroline Thompson and Larry Wilson (both of whom worked with Tim Burton), with revisions by the fantastic writer/playwright Paul Rudnick, "The Adams Family" is a gothic inspired comedy, resting much of its laurels on the impeccable cast, quick wit and flawless production design. The film has a somewhat generic story development, but it is tremendously successful in creating a darkly humorous universe, one where the characters are borderline ridiculous, but never take themselves, or the situations, very seriously. The film functions as a combination of  light content with heavy visual orchestration, all this wrapped around the familiar take on a dysfunctional family comedy. It features great performances by Anjelica Huston and Raul Julia, who truly embody those characters and make them feel like odd creatures in love, still allowing for Dan Hedaya and Christopher Lloyd to also shine in their supporting turns. The cinematography from Owen Roizman/Barry Sonnenfeld is fantastic, as is the product design from the late Richard Macdonald. An entertaining comedy worth revisiting.