The Addams Family 2

The Addams Family 2

Review by Kristen Lopez

The 2019 animated reboot of “The Addams Family” had a tough hill to climb, tasked with appealing to both fans of the classic television series and the popular 1990s live-action movies, but directors Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon — the duo behind the raunchy “Sausage Party” — were able to make something darling. The duo’s followup, the unimaginatively titled “The Addams Family 2,” doesn’t continue that trend and, in many regards, shows that there’s (finally) no gas left in the tank when it comes to these beloved characters.

Newly integrated into the world of the average American citizen, when the film opens, the Addams clan seems to be on stable footing, but discontent still lurks, as young Wednesday (voiced by Chloe Grace Moretz) feels adrift from her family. Family patriarch Gomez (voiced by Oscar Isaac), determined to show his daughter how much he loves and supports her, decides to take the gang on a family road trip. Inevitably, the road trip comes with its own issues, especially once Gomez and Morticia (voiced by Charlize Theron) are told Wednesday might not be their daughter after all.

The last animated “Addams Family” venture worked as both an origin story and a contained tale about choosing to live as the type of (appropriately kooky) family that suits your clan best. That sense of structure and inherent spirit is lacking right away, with Wednesday soon using her Uncle Fester (voiced by Nick Kroll) as a subject for a science fair project. She wants to take out his negative qualities and swap them with the more intelligent qualities of her squid pal, Socrates. The experiment doesn’t win her a prize — the joke is “just trying is the same as winning,” which seems a bit mean-spirited right off the bat — but this off-kilter bit does introduce her to a man named Cyrus Strange (voiced by Bill Hader).

Maybe because the Addams family have come to personify all that is strange and unusual, it’s hard to see Wednesday’s affect any differently. She talks about being distanced from her family, but there’s no evidence of it before or leading up to the central conflict, so it leaves the plot clunking and stopping from point-to-point. The road trip and the concerns that Wednesday was possibly switched at birth never feel like organic progressions so much as two different storylines mushed together to fill out the narrative.