‘The Addams Family 2’ Review: Wednesday Goes West

In 2019, the Addams family returned to the big screen for the first time since the 1990s, this time in animated form. The macabre clan, directly styled after Charles Addams’s original New Yorker cartoon characters and voiced by a star-studded cast, railed against normalcy and blew up a lot of stuff. Now, in a new sequel, they’re taking that show on the road. Like it’s predecessor, “The Addams Family 2” is more kooky than spooky, offering much more to young children than it may to the adults accompanying them.

This newest iteration opens at a science fair; Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) has figured out how to implant her pet octopus’s intelligence into her dopey Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll). Though she captures the attention of the wealthy genius Cyrus Strange (Bill Hader), she merely earns a participation award, and her resulting melancholy makes her withdraw further from her parents.

In an attempt to bond with their teenagers, Gomez (Oscar Isaac) and Morticia (Charlize Theron) take the family on a road trip to Death Valley, but their cross-country antics are waylaid when a pushy stranger (Wallace Shawn) insists Wednesday may have been switched at birth.

The filmmakers (the “Addams Family” and “Sausage Party” directors Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon) are smart to focus on Wednesday for most of this plot. She is the wittiest character, and it’s difficult to imagine an actor better suited to voice her than Moretz. But where it could lean into the typically bone-dry Addams family humor, this film more often relies on poop jokes, explosions and the musical talents of Snoop Dogg. It’s sure to entertain little ones, but parents may find themselves itching for something more impish.

The Addams Family 2
Rated PG. Running time: 1 hour 33 minutes. In theaters and available to rent or buy on Apple TV, Google Play and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators.

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