They had me at Uncle Fester’s nipples. And kudos to Nick Kroll for restoring Jackie Coogan’s insensitive lisp to the character! Much closer in spirit to Charles Addams’ ghoulishly byzantine etchings (Lurch was indeed an escapee from a home for the criminally insane) and the '60s sitcom it spawned than Barry Sonnenfeld’s sleepy and pukey remodelings. The Addams clan is gathering for what is essentially Pugsly’s Bar Mitzvah. But if a home improvement guru has her way, Casa de Addams will be leveled in the name of neighborhood improvement. For a pleasant change, the lesson to be learned here about non-conformity isn't condescendingly spoon-fed. The children and adults in the audience may not have been responding to the same jokes — who knew that Morticia’s parents were SCTV’s Kate Hepburn (Catherine O’Hara) and Irving Cohen (Martin Short)? — but darn if there wasn’t laughter from one generation or the other throughout. Sumptuously designed in both setting and character, this one is definitely worth a trip to the Maul. Directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon. (2019) — Scott Marks
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