Sausage Party directors—Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan—attempt to recreate the transcend the utter absurdity of their R-rated cult animation with a more established material. They think that the creepy, kooky, mysterious, spooky, and ooky Addams Family by Charles Addams might be it. The half-century-old material, which has spawned multiple incarnations—including multiple animated series, long-running television series and the reborn, as well as several movies—might bear the absurdity the directors are looking for; but, The Addams Family’s first venture in 3D animation is a banal adaptation.
The character design combines the over-the-top scale of the 60s cartoon with the characters’ look in their recent embodiments—most notably in modeling Morticia after Anjelica Huston’s portrayal. Their haunted manor is a former asylum up in the smoggy hill, where Gomez (voiced by Oscar Isaac) and Morticia (Charlize Theron, trying to miserably channel Huston’s sexy, vampirical persona) raise their kids, Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) and Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard; Stranger Things, It). Set mainly in the somber vicinity of the house, The Addams Family is filled with uninspired gags and a series of trying-too-hard attempts to become an absurd follow-up to the directors’ portfolio.
The characters behave not like an Addams Family member; therefore, most of the jokes are simply random. It seems that the studio aims for new fans and younger audiences, which might not have been connected to the classic series. The new animation resorts to utter absurdity to bypass its hard-to-explain macabre that the series has been renowned for. It’s safe to say that The new Addams Family is either aimed for the wrong audiences or simply mistimed.
After stripping down the ambiguous morality, Addams Family tries to add a certain kind of message about embracing difference. Involving new vibrant characters (making a striking contrast with the Addams) led by Allison Janney’s Margeaux and her kid (Elsie Fisher), the new animated movie also adds up a conflict only to wreak some slapstick havoc. By the time the eponymous clash happens, you might have realized that the story keeps lollygagging at the same pace all the time.
Also, The Addams Family never reaches the heightened oddity that gave Sausage Party the leverage. Instead, the reboot seems to model the absurdity to the first Despicable Me, minus the sympathetic characters. After all, using a property as established as The Addams Family for some aimless Despicable Me ripoff is such a waste of material and great voice casts.