'The Addams Family': What the Critics Are Saying

Most reviewers agreed that the latest 'The Addams Family' movie is somewhat bland compared with other adaptations.

The reviews are in for the animated film adaptation of The Addams Family.

The MGM movie follows the creepy and kooky group as their lives begin to unravel when greedy reality TV host Margaux Needler (voiced by Allison Janney) tries to kick them out of their new neighborhood. The mysterious and spooky gang must also prepare for the arrival of extended family members before a major celebration. Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloe Grace Moretz, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll, Bette Midler, Elsie Fisher, Aimee Garcia and Snoop Dogg are also featured in the voice cast.

The Addams Family, which is now in theaters, currently has a 40 percent freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Hollywood Reporter's John DeFore wrote that the latest Addams Family adaptation is "so bland and forgettable it hardly merits a groan from the Frankenstein-like butler called Lurch." The critic noted that the film had "promise, but Matt Lieberman's nearly laugh-free script prefers to rehash Charles Addams' old one-liners or offer terrible updates." While he wrote that one scene that features Morticia (Theron) creating a temporary bridge across a chasm with spiders showed originality, he added, "[Matt] Lieberman quickly returns to a story as predictable as all those identical houses Needler is hawking." DeFore concluded, "Fortunately, the conflict between townsfolk and our heroes plays out quickly, and should take even less time to forget."

The New York Times critic Ben Kenigsberg wrote that the animated film lacks the physical comedy present in the 1991 and 1993 Barry Sonnenfeld’s live-action films. "As spot on as the casting of Isaac and Theron may sound, animation spares them from having to match the ingenious physical comedy of Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston," he wrote. The slightly more positive review said that The Addams Family is "the diversion you would expect, getting laughs from the disparity between the Addams’ congenital gloominess and the planned community, called Assimilation, that’s being developed near their mansion." Kenigsberg concluded, "If this installment lays on the moral (all families are freaky in their own ways) a bit thick, it has just enough wit and weirdness to honor its source material."

NPR's Danny Hensel described the film as often feeling "de-clawed." He added that the film "doesn't take full advantage of the medium of animation." Hensel continued, "From scene to scene, the film is dominated by blandness — it lacks the texture of the franchise's previous live-action adaptations." The critic also called the pacing of the film "wildly uneven." The review concluded, "There are too many scenes that drag, or otherwise feel more perfunctory to set up the rather flimsy plot."

RogerEbert.com's Nell Minow gave the film two out of four stars. "There are about half a dozen bright spots in the new animated feature The Addams Family, but in between them is the unbright and unoriginal storyline about how the real monsters are the ordinary people, not the weird people," Minow wrote at the opening of the review. The critic added that the voice cast "does the best with their dialogue," though the screenplay lacks the "wonderful witty quips" featured in Paul Rudnick's Addams Family Values. Minow concluded that children will enjoy the film, but "will understand that the theme of encouraging individual expression would be more compelling if the storyline wasn't so resolutely dull."

Richard Roeper from The Chicago Sun-Times gave The Addams Family two out of four stars. The critic first noted that the film was "repetitive" before he wrote that the "addition of some hip-hop tunes to liven things up and the voice presence of Snoop Dogg as Cousin Itt seem kinda 1995ish and uninspired." Roeper also said that the animation rendered "sharp but rather flat visuals that rarely pop from the screen." After the critic wrote that the family members were "voiced by the immensely talented but in some cases barely used comedic ensemble," he concluded that the film was forgettable.

Like the majority of critics, Toronto Star's Peter Howell also gave the film two out of four stars. He wrote that while the casting was great "on paper," the voice cast couldn't save the "empty crypt of a committee-written script, which goes in mainly for cornball one-liners and sight gags working the eternal Halloween conceit of the Addams saga." Howell concluded the review by noting that the family's servant Lurch "is actually the star of the show." He added, "As for the rest of them, there’s too much “meh” in their mayhem. It’s time to bury this gang for good."

Seattle Times critic Soren Andersen wrote that The Addams Family "suffers from an acute case of the cutes." While Andersen wrote that the film is "mildly amusing," there's "a sugary sweetness about it that makes it seem rather more warm and fuzzy than what we normally associate with the macabre essence of all things Addams." The critic wrote that "the best part of this animated picture are the character designs," while the film fell flat in terms of its plot. "What’s missing and much missed is the sense of the mad passion Morticia and Gomez have for each other. That was the core of the appeal of the 1960s TV series that kicked off the Addams craze," Andersen concluded.