Addams Family Reunion (1998)

After the sad death of brilliant actor Raul Julia, the “Addams Family” film series was put to rest, despite both films being big commercial hits for their respective years. Almost immediately, Paramount sold the rights to the series to, baffling enough, Saban Entertainment. Saban, of course, is known for producing cheap but popular kids entertainment like “Power Rangers” and “Digimon.” The Saban label at the opening is almost a black mark on the entire movie, as the reboot of the reboot is a bargain basement third entry in to the series with all the cast replaced save for Lurch. The dark and Gothic aesthetic is missing, and comically sinister tone the series perfects is considerably watered down with the film feeling less like Tim Burton, and more like the terrible pilot to a show that never quite took off.

This time around the brood is visited by Gomez’s parents, both of whom are identically morbid and sinister. Gomez and Morticia are horrified to learn, though, that they’re suffering from Waltzheimer’s, a degenerative disease that’s beginning to turn them in to normal elderly people. Learning of a family reunion, Gomez takes his family along to meet his other relatives, and connects with an in law who is a doctor that can possibly cure his parents. But things go bad when the relatives plan to take the Addams’ fortune. In one of the only funny sub-plots, two Addams family distant relatives are stranded at their mansion with Granny, and they experience an endless torrent of horror by the house and its various secrets.

Despite the talent, the cast are absolutely lackluster with Daryl Hannah barely able to derive tension and chemistry with Tim Curry, who takes the role of Gomez Addams. Hannah looks bored in the role and lacks the saucy sexuality Angelica Houston injected in to the role. Curry is very good as Gomez, however small a consolation that may be, but he seems to alternate between mimicking Julia, and playing the role to his own rhythm. This makes the depiction of Gomez uneven most of the time he’s on screen. Curry can’t quite elicit the maniacal wit Julia did, but then he isn’t given much to do with the character, anyway. After the set up, the main premise involves yet another situation where the family is very out of their element.

They’re forced to mingle with “normal” clans, and pressured to conform to perceived social norms among very bland people, and the writers never quite do anything new or unique with any of it. Not to mention, Fester is given a goofy sub-plot involving his pet dog that can turn in to a monster, and Wednesday and Pugsley stand around most of the time absorbing torture from their nasty distant relatives, while Pugsley falls in love with bespectacled distant cousin. Per Hollywood contractual obligation with all low budget movies, Clint Howard also makes a walk on cameo. Curry is always great, but beyond that small consolation, “Addams Family Reunion” is a forgettable and tedious attempt to keep the movie series limping along.