In yet another animated sequel that nobody wanted, here comes the CGI animated Addams Family again, but this time (like Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation), the family is going on vacation, because it was either that or time-travel, body-switching, or a long-lost relative.
It’s all about Wednesday. Wednesday Addams (Chloë Grace Moretz), that is. This precocious, emotionless, and now apparently, super-genius child wows her grade school Science Fair with her genetic research and gene-splitting using an octopus. She even gets her dim-witted Uncle Fester (Nick Kroll) as an experiment. This catches the eye of mad scientist Cyrus Strange (Bill Hader). . . he’s never referred to as Dr. Strange for obvious reasons, LOL! Meanwhile, there is unrest back at the creepy, kooky, mysterious, and spooky Addams household. Parents Morticia (Charlize Theron) and Gomez (Oscar Isacc) are worried about Wednesday and her sullen attitude. Solution? Road trip vacation!!
Packing up the giant family bus everyone, but Grandmama Addams (Bette Midler), takes off for Salem, Massachusetts, but things go terribly wrong from the get-go, as a shady lawyer named Mr. Mustela (Wallace Shawn) drops a bombshell on Gomez and Morticia. Seems there’s a couple in Sausalito who’s claiming that Wednesday and their daughter were switched at birth! Trying to keep this info from Wednesday isn’t easy, but they manage as they go from Niagra Falls to Miami Beach to the Grand Canyon, causing a ruckus in each location. Along the way, they pick up Cousin Itt (Snoop Dogg) and find out that Fester is slowly being turned into an octopus.
However, Wednesday, when she’s not mercilessly torturing her brother Pugsley (Javon Walton), discovers the truth about her linage and leaves her family to be with Cyrus Strange, someone who thinks and wants the same things she does. But will Wednesday stay with her new “dad”? Will Fester go full octopi? And why, oh God in Heaven why, does Lurch break into “I Will Survive” and with a falsetto voice?! This is one terrible, awful, cash-grab of a movie. Four writers, Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit, Ben Queen, and Susanna Fogel, along with two directors, Greg Tiernan and Conran Vernan, couldn’t save this sinking ship.
At least with the 2019 movie, there was the occasional humor and some nice callbacks to both the TV series and Barry Sonnenfeld’s movies, but here it’s a heaping pile of nonsense with unfunny jokes, lame set-up’s, terrible dialogue, several poop gags, and Dr. Strange. . . sorry, Mr. Strange who looks like a badly rendered SIM character. Nothing makes sense in the plot, nor is there any attempt to make it make sense; which is the worst part about this sequel. It’s just a jumbled mess of gags, fractured jokes, and bad one-off skits that go nowhere. There’s even a shameless plug for Flo and Progressive Insurance, a sponsor for this movie. Oy!! Trust me, this movie will be on the $5 DVD/Blu-ray rack at Walmart in six months. Save your money!
**Now showing in theaters and availble for streaming on several platforms
National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
Flying under the National Lampoon’s magazine banner, this movie was directed by the late, great Harold Ramis and written by the legendary John Hughes (also a Lampoon staff writer). What a team! The film follows Clark “Sparky” Griswold (Chevy Chase) and his beautiful wife, Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) as they take their two children, Rusty (Anthony Michael Hall) and Audrey (Dana Barron), on a cross-country trip from their home in Chicago to the California theme-park, Walley World.
Instead of flying, Clark wants to drive in his new behemoth car, the Wagon Wheel Family Truckster. Naturally, things go bad as the family gets lost, almost get killed, and spend the night at the home of Ellen’s cousin, Catherine (Miriam Flynn), and her looney husband, Eddie (Randy Quaid). There, they are forced to take their Aunt Edna (Imogene Coca) and her dog to Arizona. During the trip, Clark accidentally drags the dog to death and Edna dies en route. Oh, and there’s a hot chick (Christie Brinkley) in a red Ferrari that seems to be following them, making Clark act all goofy. Dropping Edna’s body. . . uh, corpse (they tied her to the roof) off at a cousin’s place in Phoenix, the family soon makes it to Walley World, only to find it’s closed!
Clark has a nuclear meltdown, buys a BB gun, then demands the nerdy security guard (John Candy) to open the park up and take them all on the rides! Eventually, owner Roy Walley (Eddie Bracken) arrives with a SWAT team, but understands Clark’s frustration and passion, and decides not to file any criminal charges against them. There was no doubt that Chevy Chase, along with delicious D’Angelo, made for undeniable chemistry in all four of their Vacation movies and sequels. It’s such a shame many of the sequels sucked so bad.
There are several things to watch for here: a 14-year-old Jane Krakowski as Vicki, Cousin Eddie’s daughter, Christie Brinkley handling that Ferrari (she couldn’t drive a foreign 6-speed), Imogene Coca suffered a stroke during filming, and Anthony Michael Hall grew a foot tall at the end. Why the sudden growth spurt? The entire finale was re-written and re-shot four months later when the original ending (Clark kidnaps and shoots Roy Walley) tested badly with audiences. This movie was an instant success and went bonkers at the box office, making a fortune for Warner Bros., who naturally decided on many sequels, only a few of them actually being any good.