Content warning: Childbirth and dark humour. I will go into detail about the latter in this review.
Addams Family Values is a 1993 fantasy comedy film about a macabre but loving family who is trying to rescue their uncle from his new girlfriend who has a dark past and may have ulterior motives for dating him.
This is the sequel to the 1991 film The Addams Family which is in turn based on the 1964 television series by the same name whose reruns were my first exposure to these delightful characters. There was a 2019 reboot of The Addams Family as well.
While I do suggest checking out this entire franchise to anyone who is intrigued by it, they can be watched in any order you choose.
Would you believe that this is also a Thanksgiving film? Yes, I’m completely serious about that. Keep reading for more information.
Morticia was the busy, young mother of the family. She loved her children but wished she had more time to, as she put it, “seek out the dark forces.”
Gomez was Morticia’s devoted husband.
Uncle Fester was Gomez’s loyal but lonely brother. More than anything, he dreamed of the day he’d meet someone special and start his own family.
Wednesday was Morticia and Gomez’s first child. At approximately twelve years old, she was just beginning to show interest in things beyond the spooky hobbies that had delighted her for her entire childhood so far.
Pugsley was Morticia and Gomez’s second child. At approximately ten years old, he delighted in surprising everyone who underestimated him.
Grandmama Addams was the mother of Gomez and Fester. She adored including her grandchildren in all of her hobbies, especially if they involved spells!
Okay, so I’m going to be perfectly honest with all of you here. I find most traditional Thanksgiving films to be a bit too sappy for my tastes. There are only so many jokes that can be made about a pet who climbs onto the counter and starts eating the turkey ten minutes before everyone was supposed to sit down for Thanksgiving dinner before the screenwriters tend to lose my interest.
One of the things I love about the Addams Family is how well they avoid excessive sentimentality. Do all of the members of this family love each other? Absolutely! But that is always tempered by the same sorts of ordinary disagreements the rest of us occasionally have with our loved ones as well as by the macabre interests of this family that peek out time after time.
The Waltons might be terribly confused if they ever moved in next door to the Addams. If you watch this, expect jokes about everything from beheadings to electrocutions. This would be a dark horror film if written slightly differently, so if there are any kids around they should be old enough to understand exactly who the Addams are and why there’s no need to cover your eyes while watching (unless you enjoy missing scenes).
This was the first reason why I decided to review this shortly before we Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving. Each family has their own unique vibe, and I think it’s important to honour that instead of expecting everyone to behave the way fictional families do on TV as long as your relationships are healthy ones. For all of their eccentricities, the Addams are always coming from a surprisingly wholesome place (as much as it would irk them to be labelled that way).
Speaking of Thanksgiving, I can’t go into much detail about how this holiday affects the plot without giving away spoilers other than to say that it most definitely does. The scenes involving this particular storyline were the funniest and most on point ones of all in my opinion. Their messages were just as relevant today as they were in the early 1990s when this came out, and they were my second big reason for wanting to review this.
The other cool thing about these references is that they don’t require prior knowledge of the history of Thanksgiving in the United States. Anyone who didn’t grow up hearing stories about how Pilgrims at the Plymouth colony and Native Americans who lived nearby gathered together for a harvest meal in the autumn of 1621 will learn everything they need to know about the mythology and reality of that tradition by seeing how the characters react to it. No history books needed (unless you’re like me and enjoy that stuff!)
If you need something amusing to watch during the holiday season, I definitely recommend checking out Addams Family Values.
Addams Family Values is available on Amazon Prime.