Sunday, April 26, 2020

Adams Family Values

Movie Name: Adams Family Values
Year of Release: 1993
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Starring: Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd, Christina Ricci, Joan Cusack, Carel Struycken, Carol Kane, Jimmy Workman, David Krumholtz, Dana Ivey, Christine Baranski, Peter MacNicol
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6 
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
The critical and commercial success of "The Adams Family" prompted the desire for a sequel which came out a mere two years later, coincidentally in a year where Barry Sonnenfeld had another release, "For Love or Money" (featuring Michael J. Fox). The film picks up from the events from the first feature, but this time around Gomez and Morticia add a baby to their brood. The other children, Wednesday and Pugsley, include him in their habitual playtime, with the intent of eventually killing him, Adams Family style. An additional new player also comes into the family in the shape of Debbie Jellinsky, originally hired as a nanny, but in reality, a Black Widow, who wants to marry Fester and kill the remainder of the family in order to walk away with the family money. Through shrewd manipulation, Debbie sends the older children to Summer camp, and manages to marry Fester. As her constant attempts to kill him, only entice him further, Debbie resorts to drastic plans in order to decimate the Adams clan, while the children at camp are literally throwing that entire experience into disarray.
"Adams Family Values" continues much of what Barry Sonnenfeld had done with the first feature. Working from a script authored by Paul Rudnick, the film finesses the family dynamics, with the introduction of the spirited baby, all the while bringing into the film that true magnet of attention, in the shape of Joan Cusack's Debbie. The phenomenal actress, manages to perfectly encapsulate the whole range of emotions, from sweet, devoted and kind nanny, to lustful seductress, to maniacal, edgy killer, and for all intended purposes, she walk away with the film. Another high point of the feature is Paul Rudnick's twist of the typical All American Summer camp experience, through the eyes of the Adams, making that section of the film one of its funniest bits. Overall it's a film where the parental figures of the family, cede way to the children and to a ravenous killer subplot, while still being present and part of the ecosystem that the previous chapter put in place. Barry Sonnenfeld illustrates the action stylistically, thanks to the beautiful production design from the late Ken Adams, and equally the great cinematography from the late Don Peterman. An entertaining feature worth watching.