America fell in love with Uncle Fester’s nipples. Why else would a topless Fester be there to greet audiences at the outset, the first big guffaw in a rapidly narrowing field of laughs? The press release promised “many new kooky characters” before asking “What could possibly go wrong?” New kooky characters could go wrong, for starters. (Wallace Shawn makes a dismal substitute for Allyn Joslyn’s unflustered small-screen truant officer.) Were all of the gags involving Casa Addams milked dry the first time around? Was the goal of animators Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon to pluck the family from their comfort zone, send them on a cross-country vacation in which Wednesday takes the lead, and close on a sinisterly satiric inversion of a dark Disney Princess switched at birth? If so, two out of three’s not bad. In order for the environmental flip-flop to succeed, no matter where the family goes, clouds of gloom must follow overhead, and always to their delight. It’s the universe conforming to their macabre household, not the other way around. It was the electric pink, purple, and antifreeze green color scheme that dragged me kicking and screaming out of my comfort zone. As did a commonplace musical number set to the uplifting beat of “I Will Survive” that felt as out of place as would a visit from Grandpa Munster. Some laughs, mostly in the first third, before hitting the road to routineness. (2021) — Scott Marks
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